Wade Boggs is headed to the Hall of Fame for his 3,000 hits, not his knuckleball.
"There wasn't much of a choice. It was going to be a position player and Wade had done it before," Tampa Bay manager Larry Rothschild said. "He throws a knuckleball, so I don't worry as much about him hurting his arm."
Mike Bordick tied his career-high with five RBIs. The Orioles, who won for just the fifth time in their past 15 games, had dropped six straight to Tampa Bay.
The highlight for the 17,848 fans at Tropicana Field came with two outs in the eighth inning when Boggs, who became the 23rd player to reach 3,000 hits last weekend, entered as a relief pitcher.
"It's been a hell of a week. I didn't expect to come in with the bases loaded," Boggs said. "I didn't want to come in and walk the ballpark. I was dead serious about getting them out."
"I never would have done that if he didn't have the 3,000 hits," Rothschild aid. "I would have never taken a chance with an injury in that situation."
Boggs allowed one run on three hits, including an RBI single by Bordick, before retiring Albert Belle on a soft fly ball to center to finish the inning.
"The guys that made outs off of Wade Boggs, they came back and I said `A Hall of Famer got you out,"' Baltimore manager Ray Miller said. "`Don't let it bother you. Just don't tell anybody it was a hitter."'
Boggs threw a scoreless inning for the New York Yankees at Anaheim on Aug. 19, 1997.
"It was exciting, but weird. After seeing him get his 3,000th hit and now he's out there trying to strike you out," Johnson said.
Baltimore took control early, scoring three times in both the first and second innings.
Bordick, who entered just 3-for-14 with the bases loaded this season, had a three-run double in the second. Belle hit a two-run double and Harold Baines added a run-scoring double in the first.
Devil Rays starter Dave Eiland (2-7) allowed six runs and six hits in 1 1-3 innings. The right-hander has given up 26 runs over 29 2-3 innings at Tropicana Field.
Will Clark's RBI single put Baltimore up 7-0 in the fourth inning. Ryan Minor, who had his first career three-hit game, hit a run-scoring single in the fifth.
Bordick had a run-scoring double during a four-run, sixth-inning as the Orioles went up 12-1.
All nine Baltimore starters scored at least one run and reached base at least twice. The Orioles had 20 hits overall.
Aaron Ledesma had an RBI double in the fifth for Tampa Bay.
The Devil Rays lost for only the second time in six games. The six-game winning streak against Baltimore was Tampa Bay's longest ever against one team.
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