Tampa Bay (0-2) at Baltimore (2-0)

Cloudy Currently: Baltimore, MD
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Thu Apr 6, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Baltimore Orioles are 2-0 for the first time in nine seasons.

They play for their first 3-0 start since 1997—the last time they had a winning season—when they close out a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

After a 9-6 Opening Day win on Monday, the Orioles pounded Devil Rays starter Seth McClung and five relief pitchers in Wednesday’s 16-6 victory.

Jay Gibbons homered and drove in four runs on Wednesday, after doubling and driving in a run Monday.

“It’s just two games, but we’re feeling pretty good about ourselves,” Gibbons said. “Hopefully we can keep it rolling here. Everybody in the lineup has contributed.”

The Orioles have amassed 25 runs, 30 hits and seven home runs in two games. They and the Detroit Tigers are the only two remaining unbeaten clubs in the AL.

Every Baltimore starter except Corey Patterson got at least one hit Wednesday and seven players had at least one RBI.

“I don’t know if we’re pitching that bad or if they’ve been hitting the ball that well,” first-season Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Catcher Ramon Hernandez went 2-for-2 with two walks and three RBIs. The offseason free-agent acquisition is 5-for-5 with three walks and five RBIs in his first two games with Baltimore.

The defeat was particularly disappointing for McClung, who was 3-0 with a 2.33 lifetime ERA against the Orioles prior to Wednesday.

“It’s not the way you want to get started,” said McClung, who allowed seven runs and walked seven of the 21 batters he faced. “I just had a bad day … The disappointment is I put my team in a bad situation and we lost.”

The Orioles send Kris Benson to the mound against Tampa Bay left-hander Mark Hendrickson. Hendrickson is 4-5 with a 4.02 lifetime ERA against Baltimore, while Benson has never faced Tampa Bay.

Tampa Bay shortstop Julio Lugo sat out Wednesday’s game with a strained abdominal muscle and his backup, Luis Ordaz, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with bruising under his left kneecap.

Nick Green started at shortstop Wednesday and could be in for more playing time depending on Lugo’s health.

Lugo was injured while swinging at a pitch in Monday’s opener.

The Rays purchased the contract of infielder Russell Branyan from Triple-A Durham to replace Ordaz. Branyan, an eight-year major league veteran, played with the Milwaukee Brewers the past two seasons.

The Devil Rays are 0-2 for the second consecutive year. Tampa Bay has never opened 0-3 in any of its previous eight seasons.

Baltimore is trying for its second consecutive sweep of the Devil Rays. The Orioles finished the 2005 season with three straight wins at Tropicana Field, from Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Hendrickson Bal vs. K. Benson Ari
6-15 Record 11-12
4.21 ERA 4.82
99 K 88
62 BB 58
1.43 WHIP 1.40