Baltimore (50-45) at Tampa Bay (33-64)

Light Rain with Thunder Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 86° F
  • Game info: 6:15 pm EDT Sat Jul 23, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

With his named being mentioned in trade rumors as the July 31 deadline approaches, Sidney Ponson will shoot for his first win in nearly a month as the slumping Baltimore Orioles continue a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Ponson continues to struggle through a disappointing season, dropping four straight decisions to push his ERA up to 6.04. In his last three starts, the right-hander has allowed 16 runs and 16 hits in 11 2-3 innings.

In an 8-2 loss to Seattle on Sunday, Ponson worked 5 2-3 innings, allowing five runs and six hits with three strikeouts and three walks—one intentional. Ponson entered the sixth inning having allowed just two hits, and manager Lee Mazzilli was happy with his performance.

“I thought he threw fine,” Mazzilli said. “He allowed a couple of bleeders and that ball go through the infield.”

Ponson’s last win was a 7-2 victory over Colorado on June 18. The right-hander’s name has come up in a potential deal for Florida right-hander A.J. Burnett.

The Orioles have dropped three straight and five of six, including a 7-5 loss in the series opener Friday.

Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli served his one-game suspension and bench coach Sam Perlozzo managed in his absence. The Orioles have lost 15 of 23, but are only 2 1/2 games behind first-place Boston in the AL East.

“I don’t know if it’s about confidence, but we’re on a bad streak,” Orioles outfielder Larry Bigbie said. “We started to play better before the All-Star break, then we hit another slide. We need to find a way out of it.”

The Orioles, third in the East, had sole possession of first from April 23 to June 23.

Mazzilli was disciplined after he threw a tray of bubble gum onto the field following his ejection from a 4-2 win over Colorado on June 19. He was originally given a two-game suspension.

Tampa Bay’s Aubrey Huff hit his first career grand slam Friday, while Seth McClung won for the first time in two years.

Damon Hollins hit a solo homer in Tampa Bay’s five-run second inning when Huff’s 11th homer of the season gave the Devil Rays a 6-3 lead.

“It’s good to get it off your back,” Huff said. “I always get pretty anxious in that situation and I was anxious tonight.

The last-place Devil Rays have won four of six.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Ponson KC vs. S. Kazmir Hou
7-11 Record 10-9
6.21 ERA 3.77
68 K 174
48 BB 100
1.73 WHIP 1.46