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News » Rays-Pirates Preview 2008-06-29

Rays-Pirates Preview 2008-06-29

Rays-Pirates Preview 2008-06-29
The Tampa Bay Rays haven't lost consecutive games in over two weeks.

The Rays look to prevent that from happening again as they conclude their road series with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon.

Jason Bay homered in the 13th inning to give Pittsburgh (38-42) a 4-3 victory on a rainy Saturday night, ending Tampa Bay's four-game winning streak. The loss kept the Rays one-half game behind the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox, who lost at Houston.

"When you win a game like that, it's a tough win," Rays manager Joe Maddon told the team's official Web site. "When you lose a game like that, it's a tough loss."

Despite the setback, the Rays (48-32) have won 10 of their last 14 games since losing two in a row on the road to the Los Angeles Angels on June 10-11. Tampa Bay is 11-6 in interleague play, including 5-3 on the road.

Jonny Gomes' pinch-hit solo home run in the eighth inning tied the game Saturday, while Evan Longoria and Dioner Navarro also drove in a run apiece for Tampa Bay, which scored 37 runs during its four-game winning stretch.

"It was a weird game," said Gomes, who saw 14 pitches in his at-bat before homering.

Longoria went 1-for-5 and drove home a run in his sixth straight game and is batting .448 (13-for-29) with four homers and 12 RBIs during that span.

After not factoring in the decision of his last start, Andy Sonnanstine (8-3, 4.85 ERA) will try for his third straight win as he takes the ball for Tampa Bay.

He allowed two runs and six hits in five innings of a 6-4 win at Florida on Tuesday. The right-hander will make his first start against Pittsburgh.

The Pirates counter with Tom Gorzelanny (6-6, 6.43), who looks to record consecutive wins for the first time since early May as he takes the mound for the Pirates.

Gorzelanny allowed three runs and six hits in six innings of a 12-5 victory over the New York Yankees on Tuesday. He last posted back-to-back wins April 30 at the New York Mets and May 10 versus Atlanta.

"I wish I could go out there and cruise through a game," Gorzelanny told the Pirates' official Web site. "I haven't had one of those this year. But I can't let these things get to me. I've got to go out there and focus better every time."

The left-hander will make his first start against the Tampa Bay on Sunday.

On Saturday, Xavier Nady and Jose Bautista each had two hits while Bay hit his 16th homer after going hitless in his first five at-bats for the Pirates, who improved to 5-8 versus the AL.

"That's the funny thing about baseball," Bay said. "One at-bat can turn a bad day into your best day."

Bay is batting .318 (7-for-22) with three doubles, two homers and five RBIs in his last six contests.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: June 29, 2008

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