Devil Rays 14, Orioles 7

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Hit by hit, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays shrugged off the frustration of a season-high seven-game losing streak.

Jorge Cantu hit a grand slam and drove in five runs, putting a 3-for-23 road trip behind him to help the Devil Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-7 on Friday night to end the longest skid to open the second half of a season in the AL since Detroit lost its first eight following the All-Star break in 1995.

Arizona dropped 11 straight coming out of the break in 2004.

“It’s one game, only one game,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said after his team scored six in the first inning, five in the fourth and finished with 17 hits. The 14 runs were a season high and were only three fewer than the total Tampa Bay scored during the losing streak.

“One good night,” Maddon added, “doesn’t necessarily cure everything.”

Carl Crawford, Dioner Navarro and Julio Lugo also homered in support of left-hander Casey Fossum (4-3), who overcame a shaky first inning to win for the first time since June 28. The Devil Rays hadn’t won since beating the New York Yankees in the final game before the All-Star break.

“What happened on the road trip,” Cantu said, “that’s in the past.”

Cantu hit his first career grand slam off Adam Loewen in the fourth inning. He also had an RBI double during a six-run first against Russ Ortiz (0-2), who didn’t retire any of the six batters he faced after getting the start because Erik Bedard was out with food poisoning.

Crawford hit a two-run homer in the first, Navarro had a solo shot off Eddy Rodriguez in the fifth and Lugo added a two-run homer off Rodriguez in the seventh. Ty Wigginton and Travis Lee each drove in two runs for Tampa Bay, which had its highest scoring game of the season. The six-run first was the Devil Rays’ biggest inning of the year.

“Obviously he wasn’t on top of his game,” Maddon said. “We jumped on him early.”

Fossum allowed three runs and three hits in five innings. He walked four, including three of the first five batters he faced. After throwing 10 consecutive balls to begin the game, Fossum gave up an RBI double to Miguel Tejada. Ramon Hernandez’s sacrifice fly made it 2-0 before Ortiz took the mound.

But as poorly as Fossum pitched in the first, Ortiz was worse in his fourth start since being released by Arizona and signing with Baltimore last month.

The right-hander, who is 1-16 in 22 starts dating to May 2005, allowed hits to five of the six men he faced, including Crawford’s homer and RBI doubles to Wigginton and Cantu. The sixth batter faced walked and scored on Lee’s two-run single off Loewen, who replaced Ortiz with runners at second and third.

“You just have to write that one off. It was an emergency situation,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. “He was willing to take the ball. It just didn’t work out.”

Ortiz, who has allowed five homers and 19 runs in 12 innings with the Orioles, didn’t make excuses.

“As much as I’d like to … I can’t,” Ortiz said, adding that it wasn’t that difficult to prepare for the start on short notice. “I had plenty of time to do my normal routine.”

Baltimore’s Luis Terrero drove in three runs against reliever Travis Harper. Tejada finished with three hits and two RBIs, including a run-scoring single off Harper in the seventh.

Perlozzo is hopeful Bedard, who is 11-6 and has won six consecutive starts, will be able to pitch Sunday’s series finale. Loewen, who allowed five runs and five hits in four innings, had been Sunday’s scheduled starter.

Notes

Baltimore pitchers have yielded 133 homers, including eight grand slams. … Crawford snapped an 0-for-13 stretch with his home run. … The Orioles purchased the contract of 3B Fernando Tatis from Triple-A Ottawa. … Orioles C Javy Lopez sat out his fourth consecutive game because of lower back pain. … Cantu matched his career high with five RBIs. He also had five against the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 25, 2005.

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