ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Casey Fossum took a three-hitter into the seventh inning, and Carl Crawford broke open a close game with a two-run homer in the eighth to help the Tampa Bay Devil Rays beat Baltimore 6-2 Sunday and finish a sweep of the struggling Orioles.

Jorge Cantu had an RBI double and Toby Hall snapped a fourth-inning tie with a run-scoring single off Erik Bedard (5-2) to help Fossum overcome solo homers by Sammy Sosa and Sal Fasano.

Sosa’s fourth-inning shot was his 585th, moving him within one of Frank Robinson for fifth on the career list. Fasano’s ninth of the season gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the third.

Fossum (5-8) walked one and struck out six in 6 1-3 innings. But with the Devil Rays clinging to a 3-2 lead with Sosa strolling to the plate in the seventh, Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella decided to turn the game over to his bullpen.

Chad Orvella struck out Sosa and Eli Marrero to finish the seventh. Joe Borowski pitched a perfect eighth, and Travis Harper worked the ninth to complete the four-hitter.

Crawford connected in the eighth off Jason Grimsley.

The loss extended Baltimore’s second-longest losing streak this season to five games. The Orioles lost six straight June 20-26.

Hitting has been a problem during the slide.

The Orioles were limited to five hits – two after the first inning – in a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday night. After Fasano and Sosa homered Sunday, the Orioles were held to Melvin Mora’s sixth-inning single and Miguel Tejada’s ninth-inning double.

Sosa is hitting .219 with six homers and 21 RBIs in 46 games since missing nearly three weeks with an abscess and staph infection on the bottom of his left foot. The seven-time All-Star homered for just the second time since June 18, although the 398-foot shot did extend his current hitting streak to eight games.

Bedard allowed three runs and nine hits over six innings in his second start since coming off the disabled list. He was sidelined with a sprained ligament in his left knee.

Cantu’s RBI double in the third ended a 15-inning scoreless streak Bedard began before his stint on the DL. The Devil Rays added two more runs in the fourth on Bedard’s throwing error and Hall’s RBI single, which gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead.

Notes: Nine of Sosa’s 11 home runs have been solo shots. … Fasano’s homer snapped a 1-for-12 skid. … Cantu, who lost a nine-game hitting streak Saturday night, has 32 RBIs in his last 33 games. … Baltimore C Javy Lopez (broken right hand) is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Monday, when the Orioles begin a four-game series against Texas.

AP-ES-07-24-05 1706EDT


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