Devil Rays 10, White Sox 7
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Leave it to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to turn a potential laugher into a nail-biter.
Scott Kazmir struck out eight in seven strong innings, and Ty Wigginton and Toby Hall hit consecutive homers to help the Devil Rays pull out of an offensive funk and beat the Chicago White Sox 10-7 on Tuesday night.
Kazmir (6-2) settled after a shaky beginning to limit the defending World Series champions to four singles and a double before leaving with a 10-1 lead that Tampa Bay’s struggling bullpen nearly couldn’t protect.
“It wasn’t the way that we would like to have it. But a win’s a win, so we’re happy with it,” the 22-year-old Kazmir said after becoming the youngest AL pitcher with six wins on May 16 since Oakland’s Vida Blue in 1971.
“I think we were all getting nervous at the very end. It was getting a little too close for us. But we pulled it out, and it’s good for us.”
Wigginton and Hall homered off Brandon McCarthy (2-2) in the second inning. Jonny Gomes drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double and Carl Crawford delivered a pair of infield RBI singles and a sacrifice fly in support of Kazmir, who walked two to extend his winning streak to a career-high four games.
The White Sox made it interesting by scoring six times in the eighth.
Jim Thome cut into the big deficit with his AL-leading 16th homer—a two-run shot off right-hander Travis Harper. Paul Konerko followed with a solo homer off the Tampa Bay reliever, and the White Sox also scored on Juan Uribe’s RBI single, Scott Podsednik’s sacrifice fly and a wild pitch.
“We just couldn’t get guys out,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “The White Sox do that to people. … They don’t stop. They keep coming at you.”
Tyler Walker, the fourth Devil Rays pitcher of the inning, finally ended the rally by striking out Thome with two runners on. The right-hander also worked the ninth to earn his sixth save in seven opportunities.
“Both teams played a pretty ugly game,” White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.
With their highest scoring game of the season, the Devil Rays surpassed their run total for an entire three-game weekend series in which they batted .179, were outscored 17-8 and left a total of three men on base against Toronto.
They entered Tuesday night batting a major league-low .230, including .199 over their previous 24 games.
Besides getting homers from Wigginton and Hall, Aubrey Huff snapped an 0-for-19 skid with a fourth-inning single off McCarthy, who had surrendered just one home run in 20 innings before the Devil Rays connected twice in a span of four pitches.
Tampa Bay pulled away in the fifth after loading the bases on two singles and an error. Crawford drove in the first run of the inning with an infield single, then Gomes cleared the bases with his double to right-center off reliever Boone Logan.
“I’ve got no one to blame but myself. I could have gotten out of that inning with a lot less damage,” Logan said. “I kind of crossed up a couple plays. Nothing was going right for me. It’s not a good thing to happen.”
The Devil Rays finished with 12 hits, their most since having 13 against Texas on April 22, and outhit an opponent for just the ninth time. Only four of the hits were for extra bases.
“You’ll take it any way you can when you’re trying to get it back on track,” Maddon said.
Kazmir walked two batters before giving up a run-scoring single to Jermaine Dye in the first.
McCarthy, moved from the bullpen into the rotation as a fill-in for the injured Jose Contreras, allowed three runs and five hits in four-plus innings. The start was his first since October and followed 12 relief appearances.
Dye has 25 RBIs in his last 23 games. … Kazmir didn’t walk anyone after the first inning. He’s given two or less in each of his six victories. … Two original members of the Devil Rays organization died Tuesday. Former scout Skip Bundy, who also worked for the Royals, Yankees and Mariners during a 22-year career, died of congestive heart failure in Birmingham, Ala. He was 61. One-time Devil Rays minor leaguer Edgar Ramirez, the 28-year-old son of former major league shortstop Rafael Ramirez, died in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. He recently had been hired as an instructor for the Rays Academy in the Dominican.