Devil Rays 11, Padres 4
Carlos Pena hit an eighth-inning grand slam, Delmon Young delivered a pair of run-scoring singles off Maddux and the Devil Rays came from behind three times before pulling away for an 11-4 victory over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.
“That was a lot of fun to go out there and really give our pitching staff a lot of room to work with,” said Pena, who also had an RBI double in the seventh.
Maddux, eyeing a major league-best 20th career interleague win, took a 4-3 lead into the seventh before the game slipped away from the Padres. Kazmir struck out 11 in six innings, but still hasn’t won at home since last July 3.
“He kind of set the tone for us, kept us in the game,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said of Kazmir. “Maddux was sort of cruising along. But the attitude in the dugout is good. We know we’re in the game. We’re playing hard and giving ourselves a chance to win.”
Pena, who has a team-high 14 homers, hit his fourth career grand slam off Doug Brocail to finish a five-run eighth.
Young had RBI singles in the second and fourth as Maddux was unable to hold leads of 1-0 and 2-1.
San Diego has lost a season-worst four straight but still lead the NL West by percentage points. The Devil Rays have won seven of nine and come from behind in 20 of their 29 wins.
“It looks bad when you lose a few in a row,” Maddux said. “There’s not one area you can point to. It’s a combination.”
Maddux allowed four runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked a season-high three, including Elijah Dukes with one out in the seventh. The next two batters singled off reliever Cla Meredith (2-4) to load the bases, then first baseman Adrian Gonzalez booted Greg Norton’s sharp grounder for an error that allowed two runs to score.
Pena then doubled in a run to put Tampa Bay up 6-4.
The 23-year-old left-hander set the tone for a pitcher’s duel by striking out the side in the first inning. He fanned Greene and Geoff Blum to end the fourth after yielding three consecutive hits to fall behind 2-1 on Kouzmanoff’s infield RBI single.
Young’s second run-scoring single of the night tied it at 2 in the bottom of the fourth, and Carl Crawford’s ground-rule double over Mike Cameron’s head in center field put Tampa Bay ahead 3-2 in the fifth. Both runs were scored after Maddux walked batters on pitches that the right-hander felt were strikes.
“We both started really strong,” said Kazmir, who was just 4 months old when Maddux made his minor league debut in 1984 and 2 years old when the four-time NL Cy Young Award winner got his first major league win. “It was a thrill to be on the same mound.”
Maddux was visibly upset when Ty Wigginton drew a two-out walk in the fourth and had a discussion with plate umpire Phil Cuzzi after walking Dukes and giving up Crawford’s RBI double in the fifth. He had words with Cuzzi again after walking Dukes for the second time with one out in the seventh.
“Sometimes you make good pitches and get (close calls). Sometimes you make bad pitches and get them. That’s how the game is,” Maddux said. “The human element. That’s the beauty of the game. It really is. That’s what makes this game what it is.”
Maddux is tied with Freddy Garcia, Mike Mussina and Aaron Sele for most career interleague victories with 19. He’s 19-10 in 39 starts. … The Devil Rays signed reliever Jay Witasick to a one-year contract in hopes of stabilizing a shaky bullpen. RHP Tim Corcoran (right elbow strain) was placed on the 15-day disabled list and RHP Ruddy Lugo, who had been pitching at Triple-A Durham, was designated for assignment. … Tampa Bay 2B B.J. Upton missed his third straight game with a left quad strain. The Devil Rays hope he can return to the lineup on Thursday or Friday.