ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — Elijah Dukes was surprised the Detroit Tigers gave him a chance to beat them.
Tampa Bay's troubled rookie outfielder singled with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to drive in two runs and the Devil Rays rallied for a 6-5 victory over the defending American League champions on Monday night.
The Devil Rays came from three runs down against the Tigers' struggling bullpen, scoring once in the seventh and once in the eighth before loading the bases in the ninth on two singles and an intentional walk.
Dukes, who was held out of two games last week after a published report that he made death threats against his estranged wife and kids, hit a high bouncer to left field off Todd Jones (1-2) to lift the Devil Rays into a fourth-place tie with the New York Yankees in the East Division.
"I was going up and trying to put the ball into play and running hard," said Dukes, who did not accept any questions about his off-the-field problems.
"It was all about the win. Winning is great."
Detroit used four relievers to get through the seventh and eighth, with both runs yielded in those innings charged to Zach Miner, although the Tigers helped Tampa Bay's cause with some sloppy play.
Around the league
Roger Clemens pitched six shutout innings for triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in a 2-0 victory over Toledo on Monday, leading to a standing ovation from an overflow crowd in what was likely his final minor league tuneup. Yankees vice president Billy Connors, who has been monitoring Clemens throughout his minor league tour, talked to General Manager Brian Cashman after the game and pronounced Clemens ready for the major league rotation.