|Devil Rays enjoy home away from home|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 15 May 2007 22:04|
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays certainly profited Tuesday night by moving games about 90 miles from their usual home. Brendan Harris singled through a drawn-in infield with the bases loaded in the 10th inning, giving the Devil Rays a 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers in the first major league regular-season game played in Central Florida.
``It was kind of neat, actually. There was a buzz about the place,'' Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. ``I know our players felt it, and I felt it. ... It was a nice atmosphere.''
Of course, any time and anywhere the Devils Rays win makes for a festive occasion; they are 16-22 this season. But the first of a three-game series switched from St. Petersburg to Kissimmee was something special.
``We didn't really know what to expect, but it was great'' Harris said. ``We saw some familiar faces as well as some new ones, so hopefully we made some new fans.''
That was the idea. And despite slow advance ticket sales, most of the seats in the minor league park at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex were filled. Attendance was announced as 8,443, a little more than 1,000 below capacity and slightly better than the 8,241 the Devil Rays and Rangers averaged for six dates at Tropicana Field last season.
Disney's 9,500-seat park is the smallest to host major league games since the Oakland Athletics opened the 1996 season with six ``home'' games against Toronto and Detroit at 9,000-seat Cashman Field in Las Vegas.
``It felt a little different. It's the first time that I could hear individual fans,'' Texas right-hander Brandon McCarthy said. ``I think once you get to the big leagues, you start to feed off that energy of 30,000 people going strong. I understand what they're doing here, but it's a little weird feeling.''
With ticket prices ranging from $49 to $119 for the lower deck and $35 to $42 on the upper level, many fans opted for $15 lawn seating up the third base line and on the hill behind the left field fence.
Elsewhere in the AL on Tuesday night, it was Oakland 5, Kansas City 4 in 11 innings; Seattle 11, Los Angeles 3; Detroit 7, Boston 3; Cleveland 15, Minnesota 7; and Toronto 2, Baltimore 1.
The Yankees at White Sox game was rained out.
For Tampa Bay, Harris' fourth hit of the game drove in the winning run off Scott Feldman (1-2), who was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma earlier in the day. Brian Stokes (2-5) pitched the 10th for the Devil Rays.
Hank Blalock homered for the third straight game for the Rangers.
Athletics 5, Royals 4, 11 innings
At Oakland, Dan Johnson's sacrifice fly to center in the bottom of the 11th scored Shannon Stewart on a tight play at the plate. Stewart got his right leg under catcher Paul Phillips' tag attempt after a great throw home by David DeJesus.
Lenny DiNardo (1-1) pitched the 11th for the victory in a game that went 3 hours, 43 minutes.
Stewart and Nick Swisher hit consecutive one-out singles against Joakim Soria (1-2) before Eric Chavez was intentionally walked to bring up Johnson, who earlier extended his AL-best hitting streak to 15 games with a single.
Tony Pena Jr. hit a tying two-run triple in the ninth.
Mariners 11, Angels 3
At Seattle, Ichiro Suzuki had his sixth five-hit game and rookie Sean White (1-0) got his first major league win by retiring 13 straight batters.
Mariners starter Felix Hernandez returned from the disabled list to pitch 3 2-3 innings. The 21-year-old Hernandez, who was dominant before a strained forearm idled him for 26 days, looked healthy but rusty in allowing three runs and walking three.
Kelvim Escobar's 2.21 ERA was fourth-best in the AL entering the game. But Escobar (4-2) allowed eight runs - six earned - in 2 1-3 innings, his shortest start since July 13, 2003.
Tigers 7, Red Sox 2
At Boston, Justin Verlander gave up six hits over 7 2-3 innings, and Brandon Inge and Magglio Ordonez homered to cool off Tim Wakefield.
Verlander (4-1) allowed two runs and struck out seven before leaving the game when Kevin Youkilis hit a solo home run in the eighth. The reigning AL Rookie of the Year, Verlander has allowed four earned runs in four road starts this season.
Wakefield (4-4) was leading the AL in opponents' batting average, second in the league in ERA and hadn't allow a run in his two previous starts.
But Inge hit a solo homer in the third to snap Wakefield's shutout streak at 16 innings. After Curtis Granderson and Gary Sheffield singled, Ordonez homered over the Green Monster.
Indians 15, Twins 7
At Cleveland, the Indians had two six-run innings in accumulating season highs in hits and runs.
Jhonny Peralta homered and had four RBIs, Grady Sizemore had four hits, including a two-run homer, and Josh Barfield had three hits and three RBIs for the Indians.
Peralta's three-run homer keyed a six-run first off Ramon Ortiz (3-4). Cleveland had 17 hits and improved baseball's best home record to 12-3.
Justin Morneau, in his second game since having his nose broken Saturday, hit two solo homers for Minnesota.
Paul Byrd (3-1) allowed five runs and seven hits over seven innings. The right-hander struck out seven without a walk.
Blue Jays 2, Orioles 1
At Toronto, Jesse Litsch pitched into the ninth inning in his major league debut and Troy Glaus singled in the go-ahead run in the sixth.
Litsch walked Miguel Tejada with two outs in the ninth and Jeremy Accardo relieved. Accardo allowed a single to Ramon Hernandez before retiring Aubrey Huff on a groundout to second to earn his third save.
Five years ago, Litsch was a bat boy for Tampa Bay, fetching lumber for current Baltimore players Chris Gomez and Huff. He allowed just four singles, walked three and struck out one.
Daniel Cabrera (3-4) was almost as good, throwing a three-hitter to keep the Orioles in the game. He struck out six and walked five, one intentional, in his fourth career complete game and first this season.