Devil Rays 8, Rangers 6, 10 innings

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KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP)—Tampa Bay’s three-day experiment at Disney World couldn’t have gone much better.

Delmon Young’s second homer Thursday night, a two-run shot in the 10th inning, gave the Devil Rays an 8-6 victory over Texas and a sweep of a series shifted to the popular tourist destination as part of Tampa Bay’s effort to expand its fan base in the Orlando area.

“It was a very successful visit,” team president Matt Silverman said. “It was great exposure for the team. … These games got the attention of the market.”

Young’s winning homer off Willie Eyre (1-2) also extended the club’s season-high winning streak to four games.

Sammy Sosa, meanwhile, was 1-for-6 with three strikeouts for Texas and remained three homers shy of becoming the fifth player to hit 600 in a career.

Young, who drove in five runs, gave the Devil Rays a 5-3 lead against Texas starter Kameron Loe with a three-run homer in the fourth inning. He also drove in three runs in an 11-8 victory Wednesday night after going 12 games without an RBI.

“I’ve just fixed my swing. It just feels better,” said Young, whose opposite-field homer ended the game after 4 hours, 13 minutes and 408 pitches, including 230 by Devil Rays pitchers.

Gary Glover (1-2) pitched the 10th to earn the victory for Tampa Bay, which hadn’t won four in a row since last May 18-21. The Rangers were 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position and lost for the eighth time in 10 games.

“I feel for those guys out there,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “Opportunities were there, we just didn’t cash in.”

Carlos Pena’s run-scoring single put Tampa Bay up 6-3 in the sixth, but the Devil Rays couldn’t put the game away. Mark Teixeira’s two-run single trimmed the Rangers’ deficit to 6-5 in the sixth and Victor Diaz tied it with a solo homer off Chad Orvella in the seventh.

The series finale drew a crowd of 9,635—up from 8,443 Tuesday and 8,839 Wednesday—despite the threat of rain, which normally isn’t a concern for a Devil Rays home game because they play in a domed stadium about 90 miles southeast of Disney.

The tarp was pulled over the infield a little less than three hours before the first pitch, and a light drizzle caused some anxious moments for fans before the weather cleared and the game started without a rain delay.

Devil Rays starter Scott Kazmir struck out nine, including Sosa with the bases loaded in the third and two runners on in the fourth. But high pitch counts have been a problem for the 23-year-old left-hander, who walked six and departed after throwing 109 in four innings.

Two of the Rangers’ three runs off Kazmir were unearned, with Michael Young drawing a walk with the bases loaded and Teixeira delivering a sacrifice fly after a fourth-inning throwing error by the Devil Rays pitcher.

Texas rookie Kevin Mahar had the first two hits of his major league career against Kazmir, and got his first RBI with a fourth-inning single. He finished 2-for-5 after going 0-for-4 in his debut Wednesday night.

“We could have done some things better, obviously,” Young said of the Rangers’ woes. “We grinded away. We battled. We just didn’t find a way to do what had to be done to win. It wasn’t for lack of effort.”

Notes

Carl Crawford is 3-for-3 with a walk and nine RBIs with the bases loaded this season. He had a run-scoring single in that situation Thursday night after hitting a three-run triple Wednesday. He hit his first career grand slam against the Yankees on April 24. … Teixeira has 18 RBIs in his last 15 games. … The Devil Rays placed CF Rocco Baldelli (left hamstring) on the 15-day disabled list and activated INF/OF Greg Norton, who had right knee surgery April 2. … Texas 3B Hank Blalock sat out because of a knot behind his right shoulder. He was scheduled to be examined by a team physician, and the Rangers hadn’t ruled out the possibility of him returning to the lineup Friday against Houston.

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