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Boggs Hits 3,001, D'Rays Win


The crowd shared one more special moment with Wade Boggs before his teammates took over the game.

Mike DiFelice and Paul Sorrento homered and Terrell Lowery hit three doubles Sunday to lead the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to a 5-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

Boggs, who homered for his 3,000th hit Saturday night, doubled in his only at-bat before taking the rest of the day off before a crowd of 33,052 at Tropicana Field.

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  • "It was probably the most relaxed at-bat I had in 18 years. Standing at the plate, just everything was so peaceful," he said. "It was almost like I was playing whiffle ball in the backyard."

    Boggs received a standing ovation and shook hands with Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove and all of the umpires when he took the lineup to home plate before the game.

    He smacked an opposite-field, ground-rule double that bounced into the stands in left before being removed for Sorrento, who entered the game in the second inning as a pinch runner.

    Boggs got little sleep after celebrating No. 3,000 with family and friends. But he felt he owed it to fans to play because many of them purchased tickets hoping Sunday would be the day he'd reach the milestone.

    "I felt it wouldn't be too fitting to just sit out and enjoy the moment," Boggs said, adding that his sister, Ann, who has multiple schlerosis, made a rare trip to the ball park for the series finale.

    "It was special because she couldn't be here last night. It was terrific. I really classify her as my guardian angel ... She's one of my biggest supporters."

    DiFelice hit a solo homer in the hird inning off Jaret Wright (7-7), who allowed two runs on four hits before aggravating an injury that put him on the disabled list last month.

    The Cleveland right-hander was on the DL from July 19-Aug. 3 with a strained back muscle behind his pitching shoulder. The team said he was removed because of the same problem.

    Left-hander Wilson Alvarez (6-6), meanwhile, came off the DL to pitch five innings to get the victory. He allowed two runs on five hits, walked one and struck out six in his first start since July 17.

    Relievers Norm Charlton and Albie Lopez pitched three perfect innings for Tampa Bay before Roberto Hernandez came on to work the ninth for his 30th save.

    Roberto Alomar hit his 19th homer off Alvarez in the first, giving the Indians a 1-0 lead.

    Wright left the game after facing two batters in the third. DiFelice's fifth homer made it 1-1 and Lowery doubled and scored three batters later on Fred McGriff's RBI single.

    Sorrento drove in a run in the third with a single off Chris Haney, then hit a solo homer in the eighth off Ricardo Rincon.

    Hargrove said it was too early to tell how long Wright might be sidelined.

    "My question to the trainer was, `Is it as bad as the first time?' And he said, no," the Cleveland manager said.

    "I was concerned about his velocity from the first pitch on. It was 87 to 92 (mph), and in the third inning it was 85. We certainly didn't want to take any chances with him."

    Indians third baseman Enrique Wilson left the game with a sprained left thumb, while left fielder Richie Sexson sustained a bruised right wrist after being hit by a pitch by Hernandez in the ninth inning.

    Notes

  • The Devil Rays will hold a tribute to Boggs before an Aug. 22 game against Kansas City
  • Alomar has seven homers and 24 RBIs in 23 games since the All-Star break
  • Sexson has 16 RBIs in his last 16 games
  • Devil Rays LHP Tony Saunders had the cast removed from the pitching arm he broke on May 28. Hhopes the injury heals enough by the end of September to begin full rehabilitation
  • Alvarez's sixth victory matches his total for last season
  • The Devil Rays recalled OF Jose Guillen from Triple-A Durham and optioned RHP Bryan Rekar and OF Rich Butler to the minor league club. Guillen started in right field and went 0-for-4
  • DiFelice's five homers are a career-high
  • Despite their big lead in the AL Central, the Indians are 10-13 since the All-Star break and 20-23 since June 22
  • Average attendance for the three-game series was 35,729 about 15,000 above the Devil Rays' season average.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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