Rays Huff, puff, blow O's down

July 23, 2005

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Aubrey Huff did not look like someone who struggles with the bases loaded.

Huff hit his first career grand slam and Seth McClung won for the first time in two years as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-5 on Friday night.

Damon Hollins hit a solo homer in Tampa Bay's five-run second before Huff's 11th homer of the season gave the Devil Rays a 6-3 lead. Huff entered with just one hit in his previous 19 at-bats with the bases loaded.

"It's good to get it off your back," Huff said. "I always get pretty anxious in that situation and I was anxious tonight.


"The pitch was up and in. It was actually out of the strike zone and I just got the head out on it."

McClung (1-5) underwent elbow ligament replacement surgery in June 2003, a month after he recorded his previous win, at Baltimore. He allowed four runs and five hits in five-plus innings.

McClung improved his career mark to 5-6 - with three of the victories over the Orioles.

"I don't think I pitched that great, but I'm ecstatic about our win as a team and me coming back and getting a 'W," McClung said.

After Chad Orvella and Joe Borowski combined for three scoreless innings, Danys Baez pitched the ninth for his 18th save, allowing a run-scoring single by Melvin Mora.

Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli served his one-game suspension and bench coach Sam Perlozzo managed in his absence. The Orioles have lost 15 of 23.

"I don't know if it's about confidence, but we're on a bad streak," Orioles outfielder Larry Bigbie said. "We started to play better before the All-Star break, then we hit another slide. We need to find a way out of it."

The Orioles, third in the AL East, had sole possession of first from April 23 to June 23.

Mazzilli was disciplined after he threw a tray of bubble gum onto the field following his ejection from a 4-2 win over Colorado on June 19. He was originally given a two-game suspension.

Bruce Chen (7-6) gave up six runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings. He was hit in the lower left leg by Carl Crawford's infield single in the first, but remained in the game.

"It wasn't a problem," Chen said. "I pitched a good game, but not as good as I had to be."

Rafael Palmeiro hit an RBI single during a two-run first that put the Orioles up 2-0. The hit was Palmeiro's 3,011th, moving him past Wade Boggs into 23rd place all-time.

Jorge Cantu made it 2-1 in the bottom of the first on a run-scoring double. He has 31 RBIs over his last 31 games.

Pinch-hitter Travis Lee put the Devil Rays up 7-3 in the sixth with an RBI single. He has driven in just two runs in his last 27 games.

Baltimore went up 3-1 in the second on Bigbie's solo homer. Miguel Tejada had an RBI grounder in the fifth.

Notes: Baltimore RF Jay Gibbons left in the sixth with mild back spasms. "It's nothing real serious," said Gibbons, who hopes to play Saturday. "I felt a spasm on my first at-bat, and I didn't want a disaster, so I figured I might as well shut it down." ... Palmeiro has an 11-game hitting streak ... Orioles LHP Steve Kline began serving a four-game suspension after his appeal was rejected by Major League Baseball. Kline was suspended after being ejected following a balk call June 27, when he angrily protested the decision by plate umpire Marty Foster. ... Tampa Bay optioned RHP Lance Carter and C Kevin Cash to Triple-A Durham. RHP Jesus Colome (right shoulder) was activated from the 15-day disabled list and C Pete Laforest was called up from Durham.

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