O’s soak in Rays

0

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Erik Bedard scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings, helping the Baltimore Orioles beat the Devil Rays 6-3 in their home debut under new principal owner Stuart Sternberg.

Jay Gibbons kept up his hot hitting against Tampa Bay with a solo homer and bases-loaded infield single off Seth McClung (0-2), who also lost to Bedard and the Orioles last Wednesday in Baltimore.

Gibbons is 6-for-13 with two homers and seven RBIs in three games against Tampa Bay this season. David Newhan also drove in a run with a third-inning single and Ramon Hernandez finished the Orioles’ four-run third with a two-run single.

Bedard allowed four singles, struck out five and walked two to beat the Devils Rays for the second time in less than a week. LaTroy Hawkins pitched the eighth and gave up a two-out RBI triple to Aubrey Huff.

Baltimore rebounded from a weekend sweep by Boston and ruined the Devil Rays’ home debut before a crowd of 40,199 – just the fourth sellout in the perennial last-place team’s nine-season history.

Despite the loss, it was an exciting night for Sternberg, who took control from Vince Naimoli last fall and has gone out of his way to make the franchise more fan-friendly and make other changes he hopes will make the franchise more productive on the field.

The New York investor shook hands, signed autographs and chatted with fans filing through the main entrance to Tropicana Field, the oft-criticized domed stadium that’s undergone a $10 million facelift for this season.

Sternberg restructured ticket prices, lowered concession prices and introduced free parking for fans, who also are allowed to hold tailgating parties and bring their own food into the park for the first time.

Monday also marked the reopening of the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame, which was moved from nearby Citrus County to Tropicana Field during spring training, an addition the Devil Rays hope attracts more fans.

But what Sternberg is counting on more than anything else is improvement on the field. There were few signs of that Monday night until it was too late.

Toby Hall had two of the four hits off Bedard, then hit a two-run homer off Tim Byrdak to trim Baltimore’s lead to 6-3 in the ninth. Right-hander Chris Ray got three outs for his second save.

McClung allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings. He walked three and struck out three.

Notes: The Devil Rays honored the late Hall of Famer Al Lopez with a video tribute. The son, grandson and great grandson of the only Tampa native enshrined at Cooperstown threw the ceremonial first pitches. Tampa natives and former major leaguers Tino Martinez and Fred McGrff were honorary catchers. … Gibbons has a hit in all six games he’s played. … The Devil Rays went 3-3 on their opening six-game trip. A year ago, they didn’t get their third road win until May 19.

AP-ES-04-10-06 2219EDT

Advertisement
SHARE