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Updated: Saturday, May 10, 2003 10:22 PM EDT
Detroit Tigers
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
1 7 0
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
3 8 0
W McClung (3-1)
L Bonderman (2-5)
S Carter (7)
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E Munson: 1-4, 1 HR, 1 RBI

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- Rookie Seth McClung may have found a home in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays ' rotation.

Making his third start of the season, McClung rebounded from a poor outing 10 days ago by leading the Devil Rays to a 3-1 victory over the Detroit Tigers .

McClung (3-1) gave up six runs in 1 1/3 innings on Wednesday at Minnesota. This time around, he had nine strikeouts in seven innings, allowing only one run, five hits and two walks.

"Those days off were scary," McClung said. "I prayed about it. But I came to terms with it and I got this opportunity to show that I can pitch with this team, in this league."

The 22-year-old McClung, who appeared in just 20 games above Class A before this season, has allowed just 23 hits in 29 innings.

"I was very impressed," Tigers manager Alan Trammell said. "He has a good arm. There were a lot of high fastballs (we) had difficulty laying off of and a pretty good curveball."

The only run McClung gave up came on a solo homer by Eric Munson in the seventh inning. It was Munson's third of the season.

Al Levine pitched the eighth inning for Tampa Bay and Lance Carter came on in the ninth to notch his seventh save.

"He's got seven saves very quietly," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "He seems very comfortable in (the closer's role). He makes pitches and gets it done."

The Devil Rays never trailed after Aubrey Huff crushed a low fastball from Jeremy Bonderman (2-5) into the right field stands in the opening inning.

Huff has nine homers this season, six more than any teammate.

In his career, Huff has hit .310 (9-for-29) against the Tigers, with all four of his career homers against Detroit coming this season.

Bonderman, a much more heralded rookie than McClung, was not quite as effective, allowing three runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings with one walk and two strikeouts. He has allowed five homers in seven starts.

"I'm not going to have my best days and when I don't, these guys are going to pick me up," Bonderman said. "It takes nine guys day in and day out to win. That's why it's called a team game. These guys are out here working hard and that's all anyone can ask."

Tampa Bay scored its second run in the fourth inning when Marlon Anderson and Javier Valentin had back-to-back doubles. The Devil Rays knocked Bonderman out in the seventh when Jason Tyner and Carl Crawford strung together two-base hits.

Detroit right fielder Bobby Higginson struck out looking at a pitch on the outside corner leading off the sixth inning and quickly was ejected by plate umpre Phil Cuzzi when he disputed the call.

"You'll never get an umpire to admit that he missed a pitch," Higginson said. "When they do miss a pitch, and you want to talk about it, then they don't want to hear about it."

Detroit has scored one run in the last two games after scoring 35 in its previous five contests.

"We had a five-game stretch where we were pretty good, but we've fallen back into the tendency of the first month where we didn't score," Trammell said. "We make it pretty easy sometimes. We have a tendency to have some easy innings but that's something we're striving to get better at."

The Devil Rays have won six straight home games against the Tigers in a streak dating to May 20, 2001.

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