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News » Orioles-Rays Preview 2009-05-05


Orioles-Rays Preview 2009-05-05


Orioles-Rays Preview 2009-05-05
In his last start, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Garza took a perfect game into the seventh inning.

While it's a long shot he'll have similar results in his next outing, the Rays nonetheless can expect a strong performance if his history against the Baltimore Orioles is any indication.

Garza looks to continue his dominance of the Orioles as the AL East rivals finish a two-game series Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.

After giving up 11 runs in 11 1-3 innings while losing his previous two starts, Garza (2-2, 3.82 ERA) got back on track as Tampa Bay (11-16) beat Boston 13-0 on Thursday night. He was perfect before Jacoby Ellsbury's infield single in the seventh and finished with a season-high 10 strikeouts in 7 2-3 innings while lowering his ERA more than a point from 4.97.

"Everything was really in sync for him," manager Joe Maddon said. "It was fun to watch."

Maddon probably doesn't expect another near-perfect performance from the right-hander, but he can likely count on at least a strong outing. Garza is 5-0 with a 2.80 ERA in six career starts against the Orioles, who are batting .218 against him.

Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis and second baseman Brian Roberts - batting .370 and .315, respectively, this season - are each 3-for-17 (.176) lifetime against Garza. Third baseman Melvin Mora is 1-for-15 (.067) against him.

Markakis and Roberts didn't have any problems with Tampa Bay pitching in the series opener Monday night. Markakis hit a three-run homer and Roberts added a two-run shot to help the Orioles (10-16) stop a six-game losing streak with an 8-4 victory.

Baltimore is 4-14 since it last won consecutive games April 13 and 14 at Texas.

"It's been rough, but it's a long season," Markakis said.

Roberts had gone 3-for-26 during Baltimore's six-game skid before delivering two hits and scoring three times against Tampa Bay.

"I hit the ball hard, had some at-bats that weren't great, but I wasn't all that concerned abut it," he said of the slump. "It felt good to contribute because I felt like I hadn't in a while."

The Rays were held to six hits Monday and went 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

"I saw a lot of good stuff, actually," Maddon said. "They just beat us. We didn't get a hit when we needed it."

The Rays have dropped three of four against the Orioles this season after going 15-3 against them - including 8-1 at home - in 2008.

The Orioles will try to continue their success against the Rays behind Japanese rookie Koji Uehara (2-2, 4.50). The right-hander left his last start Wednesday after being hit in the chest by a line drive in the seventh inning. X-rays were negative and the injury was diagnosed as a bruised sternum.

Despite delivering his third consecutive quality start in that game, Uehara suffered the 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

"No pain," Uehara said through an interpreter after the game. "I'm more upset about giving up that home run (earlier in the seventh)."


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 5, 2009

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