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Devil Rays Overcome Rocker in His Return

From Associated Press

John Rocker returned to the majors with cheers. He departed after two walks to a smattering of boos.

Jim Parque didn’t a give up a hit until the seventh inning in his first start off the disabled list and Rocker struggled in relief in his Tampa Bay debut, but the Devil Rays beat the Detroit Tigers, 2-0, Friday night at St. Petersburg, Fla.

Rocker walked both batters he faced in the eighth inning. With some of the 8,894 fans chanting “Rocker, Rocker,” the left-hander walked Bobby Higginson on a close 3-2 pitch. He also walked Dmitri Young on a 3-2 count.

“As you can see, I’m not in midseason form,” Rocker said. “I need a little while longer to polish things up and get comfortable.”

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Rocker had 38 saves in 1999, helping the Braves reach the World Series. After that season, he made disparaging remarks about gays, minorities and others in a controversial Sports Illustrated article.

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Oakland 7, New York 2 -- Terrence Long’s inside-the-park homer capped a five-run eighth inning to lead Tim Hudson and the Athletics over the Yankees at Oakland.

Hudson (3-1) gave up two runs and five hits in eight innings to beat the Yankees for the first time in six regular season starts.

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Cleveland 9, Texas 5 -- Omar Vizquel had four hits and Matt Lawton had the only home run to lead the Indians in a game at Arlington, Texas, in which Rafael Palmeiro of the Rangers was trying to join the 500-homer club.

Palmeiro, who had a two-run double in the ninth inning, moved into 25th place on the career runs batted in list with 1,597, passing Mike Schmidt and George Brett.

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Baltimore 15-5, Kansas City 5-4 -- The Orioles’ Jay Gibbons hit a two-run homer and Sidney Ponson pitched seven strong innings in the second game of a doubleheader sweep of the Royals at Kansas City, Mo.

Gibbons had four hits in the opener and Tony Batista homered and matched his career high with five RBIs as the Orioles ended a four-game losing streak.

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Minnesota 5, Boston 0 -- Todd Sears hit the first home run of his career and drove in four runs at Minneapolis and the Twins roughed up Pedro Martinez and the Red Sox for their ninth win in 10 games. Martinez (3-2) lasted five innings, giving up eight hits, five runs and a walk.

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Seattle 6, Chicago 3 -- Ryan Franklin pitched 7 1/3 strong innings and Carlos Guillen tripled twice to tie a team record in the Mariners’ victory at Seattle.


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