Cantu hit his first homer since July 29 and drove in three runs to help the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat the Rangers 7-3 Wednesday night.
Cantu had sat out the previous two days and was hitting just .146 since July 24 before going 3-for-4 against Texas.
“He gets the next two days off,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon joked. “He responded really well. I think he feels pretty good about himself right now.”
Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer for the Rangers, who have lost the first three games of a four-game series with the Devil Rays. Texas is 7 1/2 games behind the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics, who beat Toronto 6-0.
“It’s not unfathomable,” Teixeira said. “It’s a big league team. They want to win just as much as we do, and they’ve played better than us the last three days. They can go out and beat anybody, so we just have to play better.”
Cantu hit a two-run drive in fifth and a run-scoring double one inning later that gave Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead.
“I needed to clear my head,” Cantu said. “I feel really relaxed. Very, very relaxed for the first time in a long time.”
Cantu’s double went over center fielder Jerry Hairston, who got turned around on the play. Hairston made the start to give Gary Matthews Jr. some rest.
“I let the team down,” Hairston said. “My job is to keep the train rolling. Tonight, I’m embarrassed. It’s unacceptable.”
Carl Crawford added a two-run shot in Tampa Bay’s three-run seventh. It was his career-high 16th homer of the season.
Shawn Camp (6-1) threw 1 1-3 scoreless innings to get the win. The Devil Rays are 13-25 since the All-Star break.
Millwood gave up six runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings.
“It’s been real frustrating seeing as how we haven’t done anything well,” Millwood said. “You can’t pick out one facet of the game that we’ve done well.”
“We came back, tied it up,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “It didn’t look good at 3-0. We battled our way back. We just couldn’t get a shutdown inning after that.”
Fossum didn’t allow a hit in the first three innings but the Rangers loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth on two singles and a walk. Fossum worked out of the jam by striking out Barajas.
Fossum allowed three runs and four hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out eight and walked two.
Barajas is 1-for-9, including four strikeouts, with the bases loaded this season. His lone hit was a grand slam. … Tampa Bay placed RHP Jae Seo on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin. The Devil Rays recalled RHP Jason Hammel from Triple-A Durham to start Friday’s game at Baltimore. … Rangers minor league RHP Eric Hurley, taken 30th overall in the 2004 draft, was placed on the DL at Double-A Frisco with an oblique injury. … Tampa Bay INF Ty Wigginton (broken left hand) is expected to start taking batting practice Saturday. … Cantu’s homer gave the Devil Rays nine players with 10 or more homers this season.