Twins
Rays
4 - 6 Final
  for this game

Shields, Baldelli lead Devil Rays past Twins

May 4, 2007 - 3:20 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- James Shields started May just the way he ended April.

Shields pitched into the eighth inning for the third straight game and Rocco Baldelli homered as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays jumped out early and held on for a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins in the rubber game of a three-game series on Thursday.

Coupled with Toronto's loss to Cleveland, Tampa Bay climbed into a tie for second in the American League East at 13-15. The Devil Rays have stood alone in second place in the division after the first week of the season just once in franchise history, grabbing hold of the spot in 1999, when they were 17-15 on May 8.

"I don't know if we've been in second this late," outfielder Carl Crawford said. "We'll take it, though. Hopefully we can move up to first."

Shields (3-0) lasted at least seven innings in three of his first five starts this season and was coming off two excellent outings in which he yielded a total of three runs and six hits over 16 frames against Cleveland and Oakland. He struck out a club-record 37 batters in April, including a career-high 12 on April 22 vs. the Indians, and was 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA.

"The good part is we won another series," Shields said.

Against Minnesota, the 25-year-old yielded an infield single, a walk and Justin Morneau's sacrifice fly in the first inning. He retired Morneau with runners on first and second and two outs in the third before working out of a major jam in the fifth.

After loading the bases on a hit batter and two bunt singles, Shields struck out reigning American League batting champion Joe Mauer before getting Morneau to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

"I was trying to get Mauer to ground into a double play and then got two strikes on him and struck him out," Shields said. "Then I just wanted to get a ground ball out of Morneau."

Shields departed with one out in the eighth after singles by Torii Hunter, who extended his hitting streak to 18 games, and Jason Kubel.

"Shields threw the ball great," Gardenhire said. "Good fastball, nice little breaking ball. Great changeup. He was really tough on us. He made some big pitches through some pretty good hitters. You can't ask much more out of a young man than that."

Shawn Camp entered and walked Jeff Cirillo to load the bases, and Jason Tyner followed with a sacrifice fly before Jason Bartlett delivered a run-scoring single to center.

After scratch infield singles by Luis Castillo and Nick Punto, Juan Salas came on and got Mauer on a groundout to shortstop to preserve the 5-4 lead.

"The biggest thing was the walk (by Camp)," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "He got two choppers (to Castillo and Punto). That's what we want from him."

Castillo and Punto finished with a combined seven hits out of the top two spots in the batting order, but Mauer and Morneau teamed to strand 14 runners.

"We had an opportunity late in the game," Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We got back in it. We couldn't come up with a big hit. It's a disappointing series for us obviously. We let one get away last night and then had an opportunity again tonight."

Tampa Bay won, 4-3, in 10 innings Wednesday.

Shields was charged with three runs and nine hits in 7 1/3 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts.

Carlos Pena restored a two-run cushion in the eighth with a leadoff homer to center field off Jesse Crain that hit off the back ring of the enclosed roof and landed on the playing field.

"It's funny how it happened," Pena said. "I'm just very happy I was able to contribute. That was very important for us to take that series and we did."

Al Reyes worked a perfect ninth for his 10th save in as many chances.

Baldelli belted a two-run homer on a 2-1 pitch from Minnesota starter Ramon Ortiz in a four-run third inning. After singles by rookie Elijah Dukes and Crawford, Ortiz committed a throwing error on a potential double-play grounder, loading the bases with none out.

B.J. Upton singled in a run and Pena followed with a sacrifice fly before Ortiz escaped. Upton went 2-for-3 and is batting an AL-best .381. Shields also is tied for the AL lead with 45 strike outs.

"Some of our young guys are showing up," Maddon said. "They're doing what we expect. It's a long season. It's a brief sampling. We have to maintain our level play. We can't be satisfied with one decent month."

Baldelli scored in the fifth on a double by Crawford.

Ortiz (3-2) was charged with five runs and seven hits in four innings to drop to 6-2 in 11 career starts against the Devil Rays. A pleasant surprise, the 33-year-old righthander had not allowed more than three runs in any of his first five starts this season.

"It's a game," Ortiz said. "Sometimes you have a game like that and sometimes you have another good game. I needed more fastballs inside and we didn't do it. I didn't have my best game, but I'm happy, no question about that. I felt good every pitch."

Rookie Glen Perkins kept the Twins close with three scoreless frames.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    MINNESOTA 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 4 12 3
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 4 1 0 0 0 1 x 6 10 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: MIN - RAMON ORTIZ, GLEN PERKINS (5TH), JESSE CRAIN (8TH) AND JOE
    MAUER
    TAM - JAMES SHIELDS, SHAWN CAMP (8TH), JUAN SALAS
    (8TH), AL REYES (9TH) AND DIONER NAVARRO


    May 3 9:51 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CARLOS PENA (5) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 8TH OFF JESSE CRAIN.
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 4, TAMPA BAY 6
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: D YOUNG (.248, 4 HR, 14 RBI)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 3 9:37 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY NICK PUNTO SCORED JOSH RABE.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, N PUNTO ON FIRST, L CASTILLO ON SECOND, J
    BARTLETT ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 4
    TAMPA BAY 5 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J MAUER (.357, 0-FOR-3, BB)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 3 9:29 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JASON BARTLETT SCORED JASON KUBEL.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J BARTLETT ON FIRST, J RABE ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 3
    TAMPA BAY 5 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: L CASTILLO (.304, 2-FOR-4)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 3 9:26 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY JASON TYNER SCORED TORII HUNTER.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J RABE ON FIRST, J KUBEL ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 2
    TAMPA BAY 5 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J BARTLETT (.250, 0-FOR-2, HBP)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 3 9:24 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY CARL CRAWFORD SCORED ROCCO BALDELLI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, C CRAWFORD ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 1
    TAMPA BAY 5 BOTTOM, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: T WIGGINTON (.255, 0-FOR-2)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 3 8:25 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY CARLOS PENA SCORED CARL CRAWFORD.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, B UPTON ON FIRST, T WIGGINTON ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 1
    TAMPA BAY 4 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: J GOMES (.161, 0-FOR-1)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 3 8:03 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY B.J. UPTON SCORED ELIJAH DUKES.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, B UPTON ON FIRST, T WIGGINTON ON SECOND, C
    CRAWFORD ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 1
    TAMPA BAY 3 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C PENA (.196, 0-FOR-1)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 3 8:02 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY ROCCO BALDELLI (5) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT
    IN THE 3RD OFF RAMON ORTIZ SCORED BRENDAN HARRIS.
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 1, TAMPA BAY 2
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: E DUKES (.243, 0-FOR-1)

    Twins vs. RaysMay 3 7:55 PM


  • AL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    MINNESOTA 1 1 1 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: MIN - RAMON ORTIZ
    TAM - JAMES SHIELDS

    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: R BALDELLI (.274, 4 HR, 10 RBI)
    E DUKES (.246, 3 HR, 5 RBI)
    C CRAWFORD (.280, 4 HR, 16 RB

    Twins vs. RaysMay 3 7:20 PM