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AL Recap (Baltimore-Tampa Bay)
Posted: Tues August 10, 1999 at 12:26 a.m EDTTAMPA BAY 10, BALTIMORE 9
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- The Baltimore Orioles need to look no further than their play against the second-year Tampa Bay Devil Rays to determine why they have been one of baseball's most disappointing teams the last two seasons.
Tony Graffanino capped a five-run second inning with a two-run double and Paul Sorrento drilled a two-run homer as the Devil Rays held on for a 10-9 victory, their sixth straight over the big-budget Orioles.
Tampa Bay has won the last six meetings with Baltimore since losing on Opening Day. The Devil Rays' 13-6 record against the Orioles -- who have spent over $150 million on players the last two years -- is their best against any opponent.
Rookie Ryan Rupe (6-6) labored through five-plus innings for the win, giving up five runs and five hits with four walks and three strikeouts.
"I like the run support. I was doing well even with the three-spot in the third, but that's going to happen with a team like that," Rupe said. "The sixth inning got away and that really aggravated me. I was trying my hardest to stay in the ballgame and give my relievers some rest, but it just seemed to fall apart. But we'll take the win."
Roberto Hernandez, the sixth Tampa Bay pitcher, gave up a run in the ninth but got Mike Bordick to fly out to center with the potential tying run at second for his 31st save in 34 chances.
"I don't think Rupe was real sharp. He did not protect the lead the way he should have," Devil Rays manager Larry Rothschild said. "It is something that happens from time to time. I think his concentration probably changed a little bit. He started throwing strikes instead of quality strikes and going after people the way you would if it were a 0-0 or a 1-0 game."
Terrell Lowery and Bobby Smith had two hits and two RBI apiece for the Devil Rays, who have won four of five following a five-game losing streak.
Harold Baines, B.J. Surhoff and Bordick each drove in two runs for the Orioles, who have lost nine of their last 12.
"For what we have gone through this year, we've always battled tough, it's nice to have your team fight back," Orioles manager Ray Miller said. "Tonight we tried to overcome a bunch of runs and we came awful close, but in the end it was just too many to overcome."
The Rays did half their scoring in the second against former teammate Jason Johnson (3-6). Sorrento doubled with one out and Jose Guillen reached on an infield single. Smith singled home Sorrento and stole second. A throwing error by catcher Mike Figga allowed Guillen to score and Aaron Ledesma's base hit put runners on the corners.
Lowery's single scored Smith before Graffanino doubled off the wall in left for a 5-0 lead.
The Orioles cut into the deficit with three runs in the third. Delino DeShields led off with a double and Brady Anderson walked two outs later before Bordick tripled home both runners. Surhoff's RBI single made it 5-3.
Smith singled home Guillen in the bottom of the third for a 6-3 advantage.
Tampa Bay scored the rest of its runs in the fifth and chased Johnson. Sorrento followed John Flaherty's leadoff single with his ninth homer and second in as many games. After Guillen was hit by a pitch, Doug Johns relieved and walked Smith. Consecutive RBI singles by Aaron Ledesma and Guillen gave the Rays a 10-3 cushion.
Johnson was tagged for nine runs and 12 hits over four-plus innings in the worst start of his two-year career.
"I thought I had great stuff in the first and second inning, but I didn't get the results I thought I should have," Johnson said. "It won't show in the boxscore but I made some good pitches; they just weren't called. I couldn't find the strike zone because he (Durwood Merrill) was very inconsistent. I threw high strikes and low strikes and didn't get the calls. Finally, I threw it down the middle and they obviously hit the ball."
Baines followed Albert Belle's leadoff walk in the sixth with his 23rd home run. Jeff Conine reached on an error and DeShields walked but Rick White came on and struck out the next three batters.
Conine lofted a sacrifice fly in the seventh and the Orioles drew within 10-8 the following inning. Anderson singled home Rich Amaral and scored on Surhoff's sacrifice fly. Belle singled and Baines walked to load the bases but former Oriole Estaban Yan came on and fanned Conine to end the threat.
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