Baltimore (57-61) at Tampa Bay (47-71)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 75° F
  • Game info: 2:15 pm EDT Wed Aug 13, 2003
  • TV: FSFL
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Jeremi Gonzalez will try to complete Tampa Bay’s first sweep of the Baltimore Orioles in over four years as the teams wrap up a three-game set at Tropicana Field.

Gonzalez, who was recalled from Triple-A Durham on May 17 after being out of the majors since 1998 due to a series of injuries, is 2-1 with a 2.30 ERA in his last five starts.

The Venezuelan right-hander posted a 4-0 home win over Kansas City on Friday, pitching eight innings of three-hit ball.

“He competes so well, that to me it looks like he’s got good stuff to go along with it,” Devil Rays manager Piniella said. “I think he’s been a godsend for our young pitchers to see how he competes on the mound.”

Tampa Bay hasn’t swept the Orioles since April 20-22, 1999, when it took three straight at Tropicana Field. The Devil Rays are coming off Tuesday’s 4-2 win in which Rob Bell took a one-hitter into the eighth before allowing two runs.

Damian Rolls hit a two-run double for Tampa Bay, which has won 10 of its last 15.

The Orioles lost for the third time in four games. It was also their sixth defeat in their last eight visits to Tampa Bay.

Larry Bigbie accounted for both Baltimore runs with a two-run homer. The left fielder hadn’t homered since July 27 at Toronto, a stretch of 57 at-bats.

STANDINGS: Orioles - 4th place, 14 GB, AL East. Devil Rays - 5th place, 24 GB, AL East.

ORIOLES PROBABLE STARTER: Rick Helling (7-8, 5.59 ERA). Helling is 1-2 over his last five starts, allowing at least four runs five times over that span. The right-hander won 10-4 at Boston on Friday, giving up four earned runs and nine hits while striking out five over six innings. It was his first victory since July 9 at Seattle. Helling is 1-1 with a 7.02 ERA in three starts against Tampa Bay this season. In 13 career starts against the Devil Rays, he is 8-4 with a 3.87 ERA.

DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Gonzalez (5-5, 3.46 ERA). Gonzalez lost his only previous start against Baltimore on May 17, giving up two earned runs and five hits while striking out a season-high nine over seven innings of a 2-0 road loss.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Orioles - Melvin Mora, .325 avg.; Tony Batista, 20 HRs; Jay Gibbons, 81 RBIs; Jeff Conine, 69 runs; Brian Roberts, 18 SBs. Devil Rays - Aubrey Huff, .302 avg., 19 HRs and 63 RBIs; Rocco Baldelli, 65 runs; Carl Crawford, 34 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Devil Rays, 9-6.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Orioles - DH B.J. Surhoff, who has been on the 15-day DL since July 24 with a strained left quadriceps, was activated before Tuesday’s game. Surhoff, who started at first base, went 0-for-2. … To make room for Surhoff, RHP Travis Driskill was optioned to Triple-A Ottawa. … RF Gibbons went 0-for-4, snapping a career-high 15-game hitting streak. Devil Rays - Tampa Bay leads the all-time series with Baltimore 46-44. … DH Huff extended his hitting streak to nine games Tuesday with a 1-for-3 effort. … CF Baldelli is batting .368 (7-for-19) during a five-game hitting streak.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Orioles - 26-34 on the road; Devil Rays - 28-34 at home.

INJURIES: Orioles - 1B David Segui (wrist), 15-day DL; OF Mora (hand), 15-day DL; OF B.J. Surhoff (quadriceps), 15-day DL; RHP Kurt Ainsworth (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Omar Daal (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Erik Bedard (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Erickson (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Willis Roberts (knee), 60-day DL; 2B Jerry Hairston Jr. (foot), 60-day DL; OF Albert Belle (hip), 60-day DL; OF Marty Cordova (elbow), 60-day DL. Devil Rays - SS Rey Ordonez (knee), 15-day DL; INF Terry Shumpert (hamstring), 15-day DL; OF Ben Grieve (blood clot), 60-day DL; RHP Seth McClung (elbow), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Helling Mil vs. G. Gonzalez Tor
8-8 Record 6-11
5.17 ERA 3.91
98 K 97
45 BB 69
1.37 WHIP 1.28