Devil Rays 6, Indians 5

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Carl Crawford completed a rare late-inning comeback by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Crawford hit a two-run single that capped a three-run ninth inning and lifted the Devil Rays over the Cleveland Indians 6-5 Friday night.

“That’s what you play for … those situations,” Crawford said. “I was just trying to put the ball in play because there was just one out. It felt great because we needed that win as a team. It was just a great feeling.”

Crawford’s one-out single with the bases loaded off Jason Davis helped the Devil Rays bounce back from a 5-1 deficit and win for just the 10th time in 33 games since the All-Star break.

Travis Lee opened the ninth with a double off Brian Sikorski (1-1) and took third on pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro’s single. One out later, Rocco Baldelli’s single cut the Devil Rays’ deficit to 5-4.

Baldelli’s grounder, which looked like a potential game-ending double play off the bat, took a bad hop past shortstop Jhonny Peralta.

“I was thinking the game was pretty much over,” Baldelli said. “Then I heard the crowd cheer a little bit, and I looked up and the ball was in center field.”

Davis relieved and loaded the bases with a walk to Ben Zobrist. Crawford followed with his single down the right-field line.

Tampa Bay is 3-64 this season when trailing after eight innings.

“Any time you lose in that fashion, it’s just all the tougher,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said.

The Indians have lost 14 times when ahead after six innings this season, and seven when leads into the ninth.

“Every day is a new day,” Sikorski said. “Today’s over with, and we have to get ready for tomorrow.”

Seth McClung (4-11) pitched a perfect ninth, completing a seven-hitter. Starter Casey Fossum struck out 10 in 6 1-3 innings, allowing five runs, six hits and three walks.

Travis Hafner homered and drove in three runs for the Indians. C.C. Sabathia allowed three runs and eight hits in eight innings.

“You have to feel for all those guys,” Wedge said. “C.C. pitched a great ballgame, and some guys had some good offense nights. It still takes a collective effort in that final inning to finish the game off.”

Sabathia, who came up short in his bid for a major league-leading fifth complete game, threw 105 pitches.

“It’s frustrating that our team is not winning,” Sabathia said. “I could care less about my record. I just want our team to win and for our guys to do good.”

Hafner’s 36th homer put the Indians ahead in the first—his 14th against a left-handed pitcher. It also was his team-record 33rd homer as a designated hitter, one more than he hit last year and Ellis Burks had in 2002.

Ben Zobrist’s RBI grounder tied it in the bottom half, but Hafner put the Indians ahead 3-1 in the third with a two-run single. He has three homers and 14 RBIs during a nine-game hitting streak.

Hafner, 4-for-4 with two homers in his career against Fossum, was intentionally walked by the left-hander in the fifth. Grady Sizemore stopped an 0-for-14 slide earlier in the inning with an RBI double.

Andy Marte’s first major league homer extended the lead to 5-1 in the seventh.

Travis Lee hit a solo homer in the seventh and Jonny Gomes, in an 11-for-94 slide, had a run-scoring double in the eighth.

Notes

Tampa Bay 3B B.J. Upton, who strained his left shoulder swinging and missing at a pitch from Toronto’s A.J. Burnett on Thursday night, was out of the lineup and is expected to be sidelined until at least Monday … Peralta stopped an 0-for-17 slump with an eighth-inning single. … Tampa Bay OF Greg Norton, who was out of the lineup for the third straight game with a sore left hamstring, struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth.

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