Tampa Bay (39-38) at Miami (41-39)

Fair Currently: Miami Gardens, FL
Temp: 78° F
  • Game info: 6:05 pm EDT Sat Jul 3, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Florida Marlins are at opposite ends of the baseball spectrum right now.

The Devil Rays will look to continue their pursuit of second place in the AL East when they continue their three-game interleague series with the struggling Marlins.

Aubrey Huff homered and drove in three runs to help the Devil Rays beat Carl Pavano and the Marlins 4-2 on Friday.

Tampa Bay bounced back from a 14-0 drubbing by Toronto on Thursday and handed the defending World Series champions their 10th loss in 14 games.

“We got roughed up, so this is a nice way to start the road trip,” said Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella, whose club moved within 2 1/2 games of Boston in the AL East. “Now let’s see if we can stick our noses two games above .500.”

The Devil Rays have never been two games above the break-even mark this late in a season.

“Every game we win has been because we have executed and done the right things,” Rays’ right-hander Rob Bell said. “We’ve won because we’ve deserved to win. We’re not on an emotional roller coaster. We’re clicking in all areas,and that’s why we’re winning.”

Mike Lowell hit his 19th homer and third in four games, but the Marlins failed to score more than four runs for the 11th time in 16 games.

“You keep waiting and waiting and waiting,” manager Jack McKeon said. “We’re better than this. We’re a better offensive club than this. It’s not acceptable.”

The Marlins are 23rd in the majors in runs with 347 and are tied for 22nd in batting average, hitting .260.

STANDINGS (through July 1): Devil Rays - 3rd place, 12 GB, AL East. Marlins - 2nd place, 1 GB, NL East.

DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Victor Zambrano (8-4, 4.61 ERA). Zambrano is 5-0 with a 3.49 ERA during his nine-start unbeaten streak. The 28-year-old right-hander allowed one earned run and seven hits over six innings in a 10-2 victory over Toronto on Monday. Zambrano, who is allowing the league to hit just .207 against him, is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in three career appearances against the Marlins.

MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Brad Penny (7-6, 2.96 ERA). Penny is 1-4 with a 4.59 ERA over his last six starts, and is coming off a 6-1 loss to Atlanta on Monday. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound right-hander allowed five runs and nine hits over five innings, while walking three and striking out two. Penny is 1-1 with a 4.61 ERA in three career appearances, including two starts, against the Devil Rays.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Devil Rays - Carl Crawford, .319 avg., 58 runs and 37 SBs; Jose Cruz, 13 HRs; Huff, 49 RBIs. Marlins - Lowell, .304 avg.; Lowell and Miguel Cabrera, 19 HRs; Cabrera, 54 RBIs and 54 runs; Juan Pierre, 18 SBs.

INTERLEAGUE RECORDS: Devil Rays, 14-2; Marlins, 6-10.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Devil Rays - RHP Danys Baez got four outs Friday for his 16th save in 18 chances. He’s worked more than one inning in half of his saves. … The Devil Rays improved to 7-0 on the road in interleague play. … OF Crawford stole two bases, pushing his major league-leading total to 37. He also became just the eighth player since 1900 to steal 100 bases before the age of 23. Marlins - RHP Josh Beckett will return from the disabled list and start Monday against Pittsburgh. The World Series MVP has made just one start since May 30. He went on the DL the following day because of a blister on his right middle finger. He returned from the DL on June 17, but went back on it after straining a back muscle against the Chicago White Sox. … The Marlins lead the all-time series against the Rays 21-14. … 1B Hee Seop Choi is hitting .328 (20-for-61) over his last 22 games.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Devil Rays - 16-20 on the road; Marlins - 20-18 at home.

INJURIES: Devil Rays - INF Eduardo Perez (Achilles), 15-day DL; INF Damian Rolls (chest), 15-day DL; RHP Doug Waechter (finger), 15-day DL; RHP Seth McClung (elbow), 60-day DL. Marlins - C Ramon Castro (toe), 15-day DL; RHP Beckett (back), 15-day DL; RHP Chad Fox (forearm), 60-day DL; RHP Tim Spooneybarger (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Wil Cordero (knee), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

V. Zambrano NYY vs. B. Penny SF
11-7 Record 9-10
4.37 ERA 3.15
123 K 111
102 BB 45
1.56 WHIP 1.22