Orioles 13, Devil Rays 2
Miguel Tejada drove in three more runs and Erik Bedard pitched seven impressive innings, leading the Baltimore Orioles to a 13-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Thursday.
Tejada increased his American League-leading total to 121 RBI for the Orioles, who have won four straight following a 12-game losing streak. Jay Gibbons, Rafael Palmeiro, Melvin Mora, Geronimo Gil and B.J. Surhoff all drove in two runs apiece.
"Our offense has come together," Mora said.
Surhoff went 8 for 15 and knocked in five runs during the Orioles' first three-game sweep of Tampa Bay. He entered with just three hits in 34 at-bats.
Bedard (6-9) allowed one run and six hits. He was 1-5 in his previous seven starts, giving up 29 runs and 45 hits in 351/3 innings.
Tampa Bay lost its sixth straight game before an announced crowd of 9,019. The Devil Rays (59-74), who have never won more than 69 games since joining the AL in 1998, have a payroll around $23 million.
"For this organization to turn the corner, you're going to have to spend and go out to get players in the offseason . . . be aggressive and go out there and get them," the Devil Rays' Aubrey Huff said, expressing frustration. "Regardless of what happens or who we put on the field, I go out there and prepare to play. It's tough to get up for a game when you come out here and there's nobody in the stands. You get the same music playing all the time. It's feeling like it's groundhog here every day and nothing ever changes."
The Devil Rays were outscored 31-8 by Baltimore in a span of three days.
"Every day is important to me," Huff said. "I don't care who you play. You don't want to go out there and get embarrassed like we've been the past few days. It feels like you're playing a high school game out there right now. It's how bad it feels."
Devil Rays Manager Lou Piniella said Thursday's loss should be a wake-up call.
"If it doesn't wake you up a little bit, well then, you're going to sleep for a while," Piniella said. "All I want these guys to do is play hard. I can accept anything else. That's all I ask. If they don't play, then I'm not going to be pleased."
Dewon Brazelton (6-6) allowed six runs and seven hits in 61/3 innings, taking just his second loss in eight decisions at home this season.
Jose Cruz Jr. had a pair of RBI grounders for Tampa Bay.
Surhoff hit a run-scoring double and scored on Gibbons's grounder as the Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Tejada extended Baltimore's lead to 3-0 with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly.
The Devil Rays snapped a stretch of 15 scoreless innings when Cruz made it 3-1 with an RBI grounder in the sixth. He also drove in a run with an eighth-inning grounder.
The Orioles went up 8-1 with a five-run seventh. Tejada hit a run-scoring grounder, Palmeiro and Surhoff had RBI singles, and Gil drove in two with a double.
Tejada had a run-scoring single, Palmeiro hit a run-scoring grounder and Gibbons drove in a run with a double in a four-run eighth that put the Orioles ahead 12-1.
"The team is capable of getting a lot of runs," Baltimore Manager Lee Mazzilli said.
Tampa Bay is scheduled to host a three-game series against Detroit this weekend, but those games could be postponed because of Hurricane Frances. A decision was expected Friday.
"The number one thought in our minds is safety," Devil Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn said. "Safety for our fans, our players and our employees."
The Florida Marlins already postponed their series opener in Miami against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night and were waiting to make a decision about games on Saturday and Sunday.