Effort is not the problem for the Anaheim Angels. Winning is.
"If this ever became a game where you can criticize effort, that's one thing you can't criticize here," Anaheim manager Terry Collins said. "You have Darin Erstad diving for balls in the outfield down 10 runs, Gary DiSarcina diving for a ball down seven runs."
"You see guys with the effort. I don't think that's the issue."
The Angels streak includes an 0-6 record on an eight-game road trip that ends at Tropicana Field on Wednesday.
"The one thing we have to realize is that there are no instant solutions," Collins added.
McGriff helped add to Anaheim's streak by passing bench coach Frank Howard, Ken Griffey Jr. and Jim Rice into 36th place on the career list with his homers. The Devil Rays snapped a five-game skid with the win.
"We had been joking around for the past month or so," McGriff said of the dugout exchanges between him and Howard. "I've got bragging rights now. It really is an honor."
McGriff hit his 24th and 25th homers off Omar Olivares (8-9), helping the Devil Rays build a 6-0 lead through five innings.
The 35-year-old first baseman has homered in four of the last five games and has six in eight games. Prior to that stretch, he went 69 at-bats without one, his longest drought of the season.
"I was in my hotel room in New York (last week), working on my swing and made some adjustments," McGriff said. "I'm always working on it. If they are getting you out certain ways, you've got to make changes."
|Devil Rays starter Bobby Witt pitches his second shutout of the year.(AP)|
McGriff, who went 2-for-3, has 10 hits in his last 17 at-bats. He hit a solo homer on a 3-0 pitch in the second and a two-run shot off Olivares to finish a four-run fifth.
Anaheim, which has not won since a 10-inning victory over Los Angeles on July 15, was able to manage just four hits off Witt (6-6), who pitched his AL-leading second shutout of the season.
The complete game was the 46th for Witt, who has 11 career shutouts. He blanked Toronto 8-0 on a three-hitter June 27 after going nearly five years without a complete game.
"When you get that kind of run support, you want to try to get your team off the field as quick as you can," Witt said. "You just want to throw strikes and make them hit it."
The right-hander struck out four, walked three and didn't permit a runner past second base while allowing singles to Troy Glaus, Gary DiSarcina and Mo Vaughn. He had retired nine in a row before Randy Velarde singled with one out in the ninth.
Bubba Trammell drove in two runs with a fifth-inning single and John Flaherty had a run-scoring double in the fourth. Terrell Lowery drove in the last Devil Rays run with a seventh-inning double off Mike Fyhrie.
Despite hitting two homers, the fiercest drive off McGriff's bat might have been a line drive that Fyhrie had to duck to avoid in the seventh. DiSarcina, the Angels shortstop, made a diving stop and scrambled to his feet to throw McGriff out at first.
- Garret Anderson went 0-for-4 for Anaheim, ending his season-high 16-game hitting streak.
- Wade Boggs went 0-for-3 to remain 11 hits shy of 3,000. He is just 4-for-27 in his last nine games, but drew career walk No. 1,402 in the fifth inning to tie Hank Aaron for 19th place on the all-time list.
- The Angels' last 11-game losing streak was June 28-July 9, 1992. Their season-high seven-game road losing streak is the team's longest since a seven-game skid in September 1996.
- The game was Tampa Bay's first against a team with a losing record since July 11.
- In two starts following a complete game loss to the Dodgers, Olivares has allowed 14 runs and 19 hits in 6 2-3 innings.
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