Devil Rays 8, Angels 3
Upton became the first teenager in more than six years to homer in a major league game, and the Devil Rays snapped a six-game losing streak with an 8-3 victory over the Anaheim Angels on Tuesday night.
“He’s got good power all over,” manager Lou Piniella said. “He’s looking more relaxed.”
The 19-year-old Upton, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2002 draft, gave the Devil Rays a 2-1 lead in the third inning with an opposite-field shot to right off Kelvim Escobar. The homer came in the rookie’s 39th career at-bat.
“A fastball down and away,” Upton said. “I just try to hit the ball where it’s pitched.”
Pittsburgh’s Aramis Ramirez was the last teenager to homer in a big league game on June 16, 1998, off Philadelphia’s Tyler Green.
Upton, 2-for-5, added an RBI double in a three-run eighth inning. He has an eight-game hitting streak, with five of those being multihit games.
Toby Hall hit a go-ahead two-run double in the fifth to help Tampa Bay end Anaheim’s five-game road winning streak.
“They’ve got a lot of young talent,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of the Devil Rays. “They’re young and aggressive.”
The Devil Rays took a 1-0 lead in the first when Carl Crawford drew a walk from Escobar (7-9), stole second and scored on a two-out single by Tino Martinez. Crawford also stole second in the sixth for his major league-leading 49th stolen base.
Anaheim tied it at 1-all on David Eckstein’s RBI single in the third before Upton tied it in the bottom of the inning.
“It’s not going to be his last one. I guarantee it,” Brazelton said of Upton’s homer.
Brazelton retired eight straight before Eckstein reached on a two-out infield single in the fifth. Darin Erstad then lined a 2-1 pitch into the right-field seat to put the Angels ahead 3-2.
Tampa Bay responded in the bottom half, scoring three times on Julio Lugo’s sacrifice fly and Hall’s two-run double with two outs for a 5-3 lead.
Upton’s RBI double and Aubrey Huff’s two-out in the eighth capped the scoring for Tampa Bay. Both hits came with two outs.
“The story today was the good clutch hitting, especially with two outs,” Piniella said. “We needed to win one. We needed to get that losing streak off our backs and we did tonight.”
Escobar allowed five runs and six hits in 4 2-3 innings. He pitched with a blister on his right middle finger.
“It was very sore,” Escobar said. “It got very big and it popped in the third inning and it came back right away. But I have no excuse.”
A moment of silence was held before the game for the victims of Hurricane Charley, which struck Florida last week. … Anaheim placed infielder Robb Quinlan (left oblique) on the 15-day disabled list and activated C Bengie Molina (fractured finger) from the DL. Quinlan was hurt while taking early batting practice. “They said I tore it,” Quinlan said. “They said if everything would go perfect, maybe a month (out).” … A scary moment occurred in the fifth when part of Angels’ DH Jose Guillen’s broken bat went flying about 10 rows into the stands behind the Anaheim dugout. One fan received treatment at her seat and remained at the game. … It was just the second time in 24 starts this season Escobar failed to go five innings.