Devil Rays 10, Royals 5

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Scott Kazmir took another step forward in his promising career.

Kazmir struggled early, but rebounded for his third consecutive win as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays overcame a five-run deficit to beat the Kansas City Royals 10-5 Thursday night.

The 21-year old rookie gave up five runs—all in the first and second—and seven hits in seven innings.

“I feel like I learned a lot,” Kazmir said. “Just knowing it doesn’t matter what the score is … anything can happen. I thought it was one of those days, and my teammates behind me just kept on saying keep it there, we’ll battle back and they did.”

Kazmir (6-7) struck out a career-high 10 and walked three. He gave up just one hit and one walk over his final five innings.

“That’s where you see the advancement for this young pitcher,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “If this had happened last year, he’d be out of the ballgame in the third or fourth inning. But he settled down, got his composure and pitched.”

Carl Crawford hit a two-run homer in Tampa Bay’s five-run fifth inning. The big inning gave the Devil Rays a 7-5 lead after falling behind 5-0 in the second.

“It was early in the game,” Crawford said. “Guys know there’s a bunch of game left. What you like to do is try and chip it off little by little.”

Nick Green had an RBI single before Crawford tied it at 5-all with his homer off Kyle Snyder (0-2). Aubrey Huff added a run-scoring double and Damon Hollins had an RBI single to give the Devil Rays the two-run lead.

“The fifth inning, it was just rapid fire,” Snyder said. “I stayed in the strike zone … they were hitting off-speed pitches. The location of my fastball on a couple pitches wasn’t too good. Mix in a few broken-bat base hits and it just landslided on me.”

Crawford’s homer was his career-high 12th and it gave him 56 RBIs, also a career best.

Tampa Bay is 9-5 since the All-Star break. Thursday’s comeback was the Devil Rays’ biggest this season.

“They had some good at-bats,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said. “They deserved to win.”

Snyder gave up nine runs and 12 hits in five-plus innings. The right-hander, who missed all of last season and spent time on the disabled list this year with shoulder injuries, was making his second start, and eighth appearance, in 2005.

Julio Lugo greeted reliever Jimmy Gobble—who replaced Snyder in the sixth — with a two-run double and later scored on the left-hander’s wild pitch to extend the lead to 10-5.

Mike Sweeney put the Royals up 2-0 with a two-run double in the first. Chip Ambres hit his first major league homer—a two-run shot—during a three-run second that put Kansas City ahead 5-0.

Toby Hall got Tampa Bay within 5-1 with a run-scoring double in the second and Jonny Gomes hit a solo homer in the fourth.


Kazmir has allowed three of his first four batters to reach base in two straight starts. Piniella said the Devil Rays are going to “try something different” with Kazmir’s pregame bullpen session. … The announced crowd of 8,308 was the smallest this season at Tropicana Field. … Sweeney has 17 RBIs in his last 16 games. … Crawford stole second in the first inning for his 34th stolen base of the season. Lugo swiped this 30th base Wednesday, giving Tampa Bay the first AL teammates since Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki and Mike Cameron in 2002 to have 30 or more in the same season. … Ambres’ homer was the first allowed by Kazmir in 36 innings. … Snyder was looking for his first win since beating Los Angeles on June 4, 2003. That is his only major league victory.

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