Pena's team-record 35th homer helps D-Rays rally past O's

Hero: Carlos Pena hit his team-record 35th homer of the season, a tiebreaking two-run shot in the seventh.

Yard work: Pena's homer total is one more than Jose Canseco (1999) and current Orioles designated hitter Aubrey Huff (2003) hit for Tampa Bay.

Quotable: "It's pretty cool. I'm extremely excited. At heart, I'm just a kid playing baseball still." -- Pena

Figure this: Baltimore has lost 12 of 13, getting outscored 128-56 along the way.

-- ESPN.com news services

Devil Rays 9, Orioles 7

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Carlos Pena spent most of last season toiling in the minors for the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. One year later, he's become one of the top power hitters in Tampa Bay's short history.

Pena hit his team-record 35th homer, a tiebreaking two-run drive in a three-run seventh inning that helped the Devil Rays overcome a four-run deficit and beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-7 Monday night.

"It's pretty cool," Pena said. "I'm extremely excited. At heart, I'm just a kid playing baseball still."

The Devil Rays almost missed out on Pena, who signed as a free agent with Tampa Bay during the offseason. The only reason he made the Opening-Day roster was because Greg Norton hurt his knee at the end of spring training.

"I don't take it for granted," Pena said.

Pena avoided a potential injury earlier in the game when he was hit on the helmet above the right ear by a Rocky Cherry pitch in the fifth.

"It hurt a lot," Pena said. "I'm fine."

Pena's drive off Jim Hoey (1-4) struck an overhanging catwalk and gave Tampa Bay a 6-4 lead. Pena's home-run total is one more than Jose Canseco (1999) and current Orioles designated hitter Aubrey Huff (2003) hit for the Devil Rays.

"That ball was crushed," Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He got us going again. Another big knock."

James Shields (11-8) gave up four runs -- one earned -- and seven hits in seven innings for the Devil Rays, who have won nine of 11. Delmon Young had three RBIs, including a run-scoring double in the seventh. Akinori Iwamura added a two-run homer in the eighth off Brian Burres that made it 9-4.

Ramon Hernandez hit a three-run homer in the ninth off Al Reyes.

Baltimore has lost 12 of 13 -- getting outscored 128-56 -- and is just three games ahead of the Devil Rays for fourth place in the AL East. Tampa Bay has finished last in all but one of its first nine years -- it was fourth in 2004.

"It's usually not one thing that's your downfall," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "It's a combination of things, but I would say tonight, the pitching was probably a lot more predominant than anything else."

Baltimore's Kurt Birkins allowed four runs and six hits over four innings in his first major league start. The left-hander made 45 relief appearances during the past two seasons.

Corey Patterson drove in two runs with a single, and Miguel Tejada hit a sacrifice fly during a four-run third that put Baltimore ahead 4-0. Tampa Bay made two errors during the inning.

The Devil Rays closed to 4-3 in the bottom half as All-Star Carl Crawford was ejected.

Crawford was tossed by umpire Paul Nauert after hitting an RBI grounder with the bases loaded and no outs that made it 4-1. Crawford immediately spun around after crossing first and ran toward Nauert after being called out on a close play. Crawford used both hands to throw his helmet to the ground and later jumped on the back of first-base coach George Hendrick, who had gotten between the left fielder and Nauert.

"My emotions was running high at the time. Seeing him pump his fist out, it just shocked me," Crawford said. "I'm glad he [Hendrick] was there because I probably would have did something that I would have regretted later on."

Crawford hopes he doesn't get a suspension.

"I don't want to get suspended, but you can't really argue with the fact of what happened," Crawford said.

Replays showed that Baltimore first baseman Kevin Millar may have left the bag early while catching the throw from Tejada at shortstop.

Young, who has an 11-game hitting streak, followed with a two-run single. Tampa Bay tied it at 4-all on Dioner Navarro's fourth-inning RBI single.

Game notes
Shields became the third Tampa Bay pitcher to reach 200 innings pitched in a season. ... Orioles LHP Erik Bedard is scheduled to have a strained muscle in his right side examined Tuesday by team orthopedist Dr. Andrew Cosgarea. ... Maddon said test results should become available in the next few days on CF Rocco Baldelli, who had his rehab assignment for a strained left hamstring stopped late last month. ... SS Josh Wilson misplayed Brian Roberts' grounder in the third for his fifth error in three games.