Devil Rays, Piniella Swept Away By Orioles

Gibbons
Jay Gibbons is one of three Orioles batters to hit home runs in Baltimore's 6-2 win over Tampa Bay, Sunday. (Robert Azmitia - AP)

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Associated Press
Monday, October 3, 2005

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Oct. 2 -- The Lou Piniella era in Tampa Bay ended in familiar fashion -- with a loss.

Bruce Chen pitched six strong innings and backup catcher Sal Fasano homered for the second consecutive day, leading the Baltimore Orioles past Tampa Bay, 6-2, Sunday in Piniella's finale as the Devil Rays' manager.

Piniella had one season remaining on a four-year, $13 million contract he signed in October 2002 but will be free to pursue other jobs under the buyout announced Friday. He received a big ovation and shouts of "Lou" when he walked back toward the dugout after bringing out the lineup card before the game. He took off his hat and waved it toward the fans.

"It's not easy, but it's the right thing," Piniella said. "I wouldn't deviate from my decision. I'm perfectly content with it. Now I'll relax, play some golf and fish and do the things I want to do, and evaluate opportunities if they come and when they come."

The Devil Rays finished the season 67-95, three wins shy of the team record set last year. "It's going to be a little different because I've been here with Lou for the past three years and I've gotten used to his ways," Tampa Bay left fielder Carl Crawford said. "Lou is somebody who wants to win every game, every day. That's the attitude he brings."

Tampa Bay went 39-34 after the all-star break but finished with a four-game losing streak.

Baltimore went 22-32 under interim manager Sam Perlozzo, who probably will find out in the next few days if he will get the full-time job for next season. Perlozzo replaced Lee Mazzilli on Aug. 4. "I truly believe they'll make a decision this week," Perlozzo said. "There's nothing else I can do. I'm proud how we hung in there these last two months."

The Orioles (74-88) ended the year with a three-game sweep over Tampa Bay. In a season in which Rafael Palmeiro was suspended for using steroids and Sammy Sosa was hobbled by injury, the Orioles finished with a losing record for the eighth straight season, the worst stretch for the franchise since the St. Louis Browns/Orioles had 11 in a row from 1946 to '56.

Chen (13-10) gave up two runs and eight hits. Fasano tied it at 2 on a two-run homer in the fifth off Tim Corcoran.

Bernie Castro gave Baltimore a 3-2 lead with an RBI single off Jesus Colome (2-3) in the seventh. Melvin Mora hit a solo homer and Jay Gibbons had a two-run shot in the eighth against Joe Borowski that extended the Orioles' advantage to 6-2.

Alex Gonzalez put the Devil Rays up 1-0 on an RBI single in the first. Damon Hollins's third-inning homer made it 2-0.

Corcoran gave up two runs and two hits over 4 1/3 innings in his first career major league start. He didn't allow a hit until Luis Matos led off the fifth with a single.


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