ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Andrew Bellatti is making the most of a second chance.
The Tampa Bay reliever, who served jail time as a teen after a fatal car crash, was the winning pitcher in his major league debut Saturday night as the Rays beat the Texas Rangers 7-2.
The 23-year-old Bellatti (1-0) gave up one hit and one walk in 3 1-3 scoreless innings. He struck out two.
Bellatti had his contract purchased from Triple-A Durham and arrived at the ballpark a little more than two hours before gametime.
"I definitely calmed down," Bellatti said. "The first inning I was pretty pumped. I was kind of looking at the crowd. Then I kind of got into a zone."
Bellatti's parents and girlfriend were at the game.
In 2010, Bellatti was sentenced as a 19-year-old to eight months in jail and five years' probation as the driver in an accident that killed another driver.
Bellatti served three months in California. He had written a letter to the widow of the victim, expressing his sorrow for her loss, and she had asked the judge to release him early.
The former 12th-round draft pick left in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and one out. Brad Boxberger entered and got consecutive outs for his eighth save.
Rays starter Matt Andriese was chased in the fourth inning. Four Rays relievers finished, and Bellatti was awarded the victory.
"What a performance," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Gets off a plane and picks up a win."
Ross Detwiler (0-4) took the loss.
Asdrubal Cabrera, in the center of a skirmish earlier in the game, homered for Tampa Bay. He ended a career-long 49-game drought without a home run with a solo drive in the eighth.
Evan Longoria and Steven Souza Jr. hit three-run homers for the Rays.
The benches and bullpens emptied in the fourth after a pickoff play at second base.
Cabrera made a headfirst dive back to the bag and second baseman Adam Rosales blocked him.
Miffed, Cabrera used his forearm to push away Rosales.
"A little bit of an awkward play," Cash said.
The pair talked amicably before played resumed.
"I let him know it was not my intention to hurt him," Rosales said.
Texas challenged the safe call, which was confirmed after a wait of 3 1/2 minutes.
"I trust our video people, and they felt that somewhere in there he was off the bag and we made the tag," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "(Umpire) Dana (Demuth) explained the tag might have been applied after time out had been called."
Longoria hit his fourth homer during the first. Souza made it 6-2 in the fifth with his fifth home run.
Carlos Peguero hit a two-run homer off Andriese in the fourth. It was his fourth homer in 16 at-bats.
Andriese gave up two runs and five hits over 3 2-3 innings.
Rangers: CF Leonys Martin was in the lineup after missing four games with a sprained left wrist.
Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (left shoulder tightness) expects to have an MRI on Monday.
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Cash won his first replay challenge after 11 losses. Rays 1B James Loney juggled a low throw in the seventh inning, with umpire Mike Estabrook calling Adrian Beltre safe. The call was reversed after a 1:16 wait.
"It was a good one. We all cheered," Cash said with a smile.
Rangers: LHP Wandy Rodriguez (1-1) will face the Rays Sunday.
Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-2), scratched from his Saturday night start due to flu-like symptoms, expects to take Smyly's spot Sunday.
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