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Devil Rays Solve Loaiza and A's, 9-6

September 10, 2006|From the Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Devil Rays finally handed Esteban Loaiza a loss.

Rocco Baldelli and Carl Crawford had run-scoring singles during a tiebreaking, three-run sixth inning, and the Devil Rays beat Loaiza and Oakland, 9-6, on Saturday night. The Athletics' lead in the AL West remains at 5 1/2 games over the Angels.

Loaiza had been 5-0 in his previous six starts, giving up seven runs -- six earned -- over 45 1/3 innings during the stretch. Against the Devil Rays, he gave up eight runs, 12 hits, one walk and had seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.

Tampa Bay took a 7-5 lead on the hits by Baldelli and Crawford off Loaiza (9-8). Ty Wigginton extended the advantage to 8-5 with a bases-loaded walk off reliever Chad Gaudin.

"The only thing I can say is that they hit everything," Loaiza said. "I was doing what I had been doing, getting ahead in the count and making them swing the bats. They put the bat on the ball and everything went their way."

Frank Thomas got the 482nd home run of his career in the second inning and produced a run-scoring groundout in the fifth to pull the A's to within one run, 4-3.

It was the fourth consecutive game in which Thomas has homered.

Tampa Bay got a solo homer from Greg Norton. B.J. Upton had an RBI double, and Wigginton and Kevin Witt hit run-scoring singles during a four-run fourth that put the Devil Rays ahead, 4-2.

"The one at-bat that was pretty big was Wigginton up there with two strikes on him," A's Manager Ken Macha said. "He threw him a fastball and he ripped it in the hole there with the infield in."

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