The last time the Tampa Bay Devil Rays played at Tropicana Field, they were swept by the Baltimore Orioles. They’ll do their best to make sure that doesn’t happen again when they host the Orioles in their home opener on Monday.
The Devil Rays (3-3) closed out last season with three straight home losses to the Orioles (2-4) and also dropped two of three games at Baltimore last week to open 2006.
Bedard allowed eight hits, three earned runs and struck out two in five innings en route to a 16-6 rout of the Devil Rays last Wednesday. He has a 4-2 career record against Tampa Bay with a 3.38 ERA.
McClung gave up five hits, seven earned runs and walked seven in that loss, which was his worst outing since his first appearance of 2005. Although McClung struggled in his first meeting with the Orioles, he has a 3-1 career record against them with a 4.20 ERA.
The Devil Rays have won three of four games since that loss to Baltimore, including a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday. Travis Lee’s third home run of the season tied the game in the seventh inning, and Russell Branyan hit a two-run double in the eighth to give the Rays the lead.
Left-hander Scott Kazmir came within one out of his first major league complete game, allowing 12 hits, two earned runs, one walk and striking out six in 8 2-3 innings.
“It was big for me to have my changeup working, to be able to show that I can throw it for strikes,” Kazmir said. “We need to get more games like this. It shows that we can compete, that we can beat anyone.”
Damon Hollins is batting .467 for the Devil Rays this season and hopes to continue his success against Bedard, who he has a .714 lifetime average against with five hits in seven at-bats.
While the Orioles started out the season with two wins over the Devil Rays, they have lost four straight games since after a 7-1 defeat to the Boston Red Sox on Sunday. Baltimore mustered just one run for the second consecutive game and left 14 runners on base.
Baltimore starter Rodrigo Lopez allowed eight hits, four earned runs, walked four and struck out two in 5 2-3 innings for the loss.
“You’re always worried when your team doesn’t hit well and doesn’t pitch well,” said Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo, whose team will be making its first road trip of the season. “We need to start clicking a little bit better in all areas.”
Baltimore tried to bolster their pitching Sunday by purchasing the contract of reliever Cory Morris and designating catcher Raul Chavez for assignment. Morris, who was 1-1 with a 5.27 ERA in seven spring training appearances, has never pitched in the major leagues.
Catcher Ramon Hernandez had three hits Sunday and continues to be a bright spot for Baltimore. He is batting .688 and has reached base in 14 of 20 plate appearances.