Devil Rays 10, Royals 1

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Mark Hendrickson is earning the confidence of Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella.

Hendrickson gave up four hits in his second complete game in three starts and Tampa Bay handed the Kansas City Royals their sixth straight loss, 10-1 Wednesday night.

“I feel good when he goes out there,” Piniella said. “I know we’re going to get a good effort and he’s going to give a chance to win a ballgame.”

Jose Cruz Jr., Aubrey Huff and Tino Martinez homered for the Devil Rays, who have won two in a row following a six-game losing streak. Tampa Bay hit just 17 homers in the previous 24 games.

Hendrickson (8-8) retired 21 of 22 batters before Tony Graffanino reached on shortstop Julio Lugo’s throwing error with one out in the ninth.

Ken Harvey then drove in Graffanino with an RBI single in the ninth.

Hendrickson threw 117 pitches, striking out five and walking none in his third career complete game. His other complete game this year came July 18 in a 7-2 win against Baltimore.

“The first one I got I think somewhat developed the mind-set that I’m going out there and finish what I started,” Hendrickson said. “I’m most proud of the fact that I pretty much stayed focused. A lot of times those (big lead) games get out of hand. You tend to lose your concentration a little bit.”

The Royals have the worst record (35-64) in the American League and are 7-24 since June 24.

“It’s very tough to win a ballgame when you didn’t hit and you didn’t pitch,” Kansas City manager Tony Pena said.

Jimmy Gobble (6-8) gave up eight runs and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings. He beat Tampa Bay in his first two major league starts last August, allowing one earned run over 12 1-3 innings.

“That had to be the worst game he has pitched since he has been in the big leagues,” Pena said. “He pitched behind in the count and then he just threw a fastball right in the middle of the plate. He got hit hard.”

Cruz put the Devil Rays up 1-0 with a homer in the second. It was his 15th homer, which set a team record for a switch hitter. Randy Winn hit 14 in 2002.

The Royals failed to score after Ruben Mateo tripled with one out in second. After Mateo’s hit, Hendrickson allowed just one more runner through eight innings. He hit Angel Berroa with a pitch in the fifth.

“It’s tough right now,” Harvey said. “Guys are trying. It doesn’t seem like we can get anything started.”

Huff hit a two-run homer during a three-run third that made it 4-0. He added an RBI single during a two-run sixth and has driven in 14 runs in the past 13 games.

“You get out to a nice lead early and everybody can relax a little bit,” Huff said.

Carl Crawford had his major league-leading 16th triple earlier in the third and scored on Lugo’s sacrifice fly to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead.

Crawford is bidding to become the first player since Willie Mays in 1957 to lead the majors outright in both triples and stolen bases. He started the day leading with 43 stolen bases.

Rey Sanchez extended the Devil Rays advantage to 5-0 on an RBI double in the fourth.

Cruz had run-scoring triple and Martinez hit a two-run homer to make it 8-0 in the fifth. Martinez didn’t have an RBI in his previous 13 games.


Hendrickson has both of Tampa Bay’s complete games this season. … Huff has six homers in his past 14 games. … The Royals have been held to four runs or less in 26 of their last 31 games. … Light heavyweight boxing champion Antonio Tarver threw out the ceremonial first pitch. … Martinez homered for the first time since July 5. … The Devil Rays are 21-10 at home since May 20.

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