Kansas City (35-62) at Tampa Bay (45-53)

Sunny Currently: St. Petersburg, FL, US
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Tue Jul 27, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays try to avoid matching their longest losing streak of the season when they open a three-game home series against the lowly Kansas City Royals.

Tampa Bay, swept in a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend, has dropped six in a row. The Devil Rays lost seven straight from May 5-12.

The Rays, though, will be opening a 13-game homestand. Tampa Bay is 26-21 at Tropicana Field.

“We’ve played this game before, that I can tell you,” said manager Lou Piniella, whose team lost 5-3 to Toronto on Sunday. “We need to turn our fortunes around.”

Tampa Bay has gone 5-15 since July 3, when it was 40-38.

Devil Rays center fielder Rocco Baldelli missed Sunday’s contest because of a sore right quadriceps, but is expected to play Tuesday.

Kansas City was swept in a four-game series by the Cleveland Indians over the weekend, losing the finale 5-1 on Sunday.

The Royals have dropped eight of their last 10 and were swept in a four-game series for the first time since May 2-5, 2002.

“The biggest thing is to keep a positive attitude, enjoy the day off tomorrow and then gear up for the three-game series at Tampa—a team we haven’t played yet, which will be nice,” Royals outfielder Matt Stairs said.

Kansas City’s lone run Sunday was unearned. After Stairs reached on an error, Joe Randa hit an RBI single. It was Randa’s first hit in five at-bats since he returned Saturday after missing nearly two months because of arthroscopic knee surgery.

Kansas City is playing the final three games of a nine-game road trip.

STANDINGS (through July 25): Royals - 5th place, 18 1/2 GB, AL Central. Devil Rays - 3rd place, 16 1/2 GB, AL East.

ROYALS PROBABLE STARTER: Darrell May (7-10, 5.11 ERA). May allowed four runs and eight hits in eight innings as the Royals lost 4-2 to Detroit on Wednesday. The left-hander had won his previous two starts, posting a 1.68 ERA. May is 1-0 with a 3.66 ERA in four games against Tampa Bay.

DEVIL RAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Dewon Brazelton (2-3, 3.08 ERA). The right-hander gave up one run and two hits in 5 2-3 innings as the Devil Rays fell 7-5 to Minnesota on Thursday. Brazelton took the loss in his previous three starts with a 5.09 ERA during that span. He has never started against Kansas City.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Royals - Ken Harvey, .302 avg.; Mike Sweeney, 19 HRs, 68 RBIs and 48 runs; Tony Graffanino, 10 SBs. Devil Rays - Carl Crawford, .307 avg., 70 runs and 41 SBs; Aubrey Huff, 17 HRs and 62 RBIs.

2003 SEASON SERIES: Royals, 4-3.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Royals - Kansas City is 6-16 this month. … DH-1B Sweeney went 0-for-3 Sunday, but is hitting .386 (27-for-70) with six HRs and 20 RBI in July. … 1B-DH Harvey is batting .067 (1-for-15) against Tampa Bay. Devil Rays - CF Baldelli is batting .341 (28-for-82) against left-handed pitchers. … Tampa Bay is second in the AL with 84 stolen bases. … LF Crawford is hitting .335 (64-for-191) with 10 triples and 28 stolen bases at home.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Royals - 13-35 on the road; Devil Rays - 26-21 at home.

INJURIES: Royals - RF Juan Gonzalez (back), 15-day DL; LHP Jeremy Affeldt (ribcage), 15-day DL; RHP Kevin Appier (arm), 60-day DL; RHP Miguel Asencio (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Runelvys Hernandez (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Kyle Snyder (shoulder), 60-day DL; C Benito Santiago (hand), 60-day DL; C Kelly Stinnett (elbow), 60-day DL. Devil Rays - 1B Eduardo Perez (Achilles’), 15-day DL; RHP Doug Waechter (finger), 15-day DL; RHP Seth McClung (elbow), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

D. May CIN vs. D. Brazelton STL
9-19 Record 6-8
5.61 ERA 4.77
120 K 64
55 BB 53
1.55 WHIP 1.44