Texas (21-12) at Tampa Bay (9-23)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 77° F
  • Game info: 2:15 pm EDT Thu May 13, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Hank Blalock hopes to continue his hot hitting and lead the Texas Rangers to a three-game sweep of the reeling Tampa Bay Devil Rays when the teams close out their set at Tropicana Field.

The surprising Rangers have won 13 of 17, including a 9-8 victory in the middle game of the series Wednesday. Leading the league with a .302 batting average and ranking second in runs with 200, the Rangers have scored 35 runs in their last four games.

On Wednesday, Blalock hit his third homer in two games as the Rangers sent the Devil Rays to their seventh straight loss. The 23-year-old third-baseman, who has nine homers and 27 RBIs on the season, has three homers and six RBIs in his last four games.

“There’s been a lot of home runs so far in these games, and that’s been the difference in the series,” Blalock said

Alfonso Soriano, Kevin Mench and Brad Fullmer also homered for Texas, which has 14 homers in five games against Tampa Bay and has gone 4-1 against the Devil Rays.

Texas took a 9-5 lead on Soriano’s two-run double in the ninth, but in the bottom half Francisco Cordero allowed an RBI single to Rocco Baldelli and a two-run double to Aubrey Huff, who tied a career high with five RBIs.

“It seems like if we can get one win, hopefully we can start rolling from there,” Huff said. “It seems like we’ve been in such a rut that maybe one win will set us off.”

A loss Thursday will give the Devil Rays their first eight-game slide since July 2-12, 2002.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Dickey Tor vs. M. Hendrickson Bal
6-7 Record 10-15
5.61 ERA 4.81
57 K 87
33 BB 46
1.62 WHIP 1.40