Earlier in the year, Tampa Bay manager
told his players they could dye his hair any color but purple if the team won three games in a row.
It took 85 games, but the
finally strung together the three wins necessary to make good on the offer. They have had seven two-game winning streaks this year.
The players already had voted to dye Piniella's hair golden blond.
"The guys want blond and we'll give them blond," Piniella said. "I'll be here tomorrow early and by game time I'll be a blond. I'm happy to do it. It took until mid-July to win three in a row. That's with spring training included. We'll give them the Jon Gruden look."
Piniella had to sweat out the victory as closer
gave up a leadoff home run to pinch hitter
and an RBI double to
in the ninth before nailing down his 14th save.
After giving up the double to Thomas, a shaky Carter settled down to strike out
swinging and get
on a popout. In his last six appearances, Carter has allowed 10 runs in 10 innings.
grabbed the lead on
's leadoff homer against
in the fifth. Valentin also had a large rooting section that included his father and a number of cousins.
"I got lucky and hit the ball out of the park," he said. "It's sweet, especially when you win the game like that. I will never forget that. It's my first major league home run in front of my family."
Sosa (2-6) kept the
off the board, despite working in and out of trouble. He scattered six hits with five walks and five strikeouts.
"I was inspired because my mom was here and it was the first time she's seen me pitch in the major leagues," Sosa said through an interpreter. "This is my first win in front of her and I want to dedicate it to her."
Loaiza (11-4) failed in his bid to join Toronto's
as the only 12-game winners in the major leagues.
"I want to be consistent all the time but it didn't go our way today," he said. "We battled and gave it the best we got."
Chicago best chance against Sosa came in the sixth when Daubach and
walked around Everett's single to load the bases with no outs.
After Graffanino struck out, pitching coach
paid Backe a visit on the mound to calm him down.
"Before Bosio came out, my knees were shaking and my mouth was dry," Backe said. "I was hoping he was going to bring me a cup of water. He gave me words of encouragement and assured me that everything was going to be all right."
had runners on in every inning, but stranded 12 and were just 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position.
"It's like the past,"
said. "We get the bases loaded, get the gun loaded and it won't shoot when you pull the trigger."