Tejada and the Baltimore Orioles look to continue their hitting success against the Devil Rays on Tuesday when they continue a four-game series at Tropicana Field.
Baltimore posted a 6-3 victory on Monday to spoil Tampa Bay’s home opener. Tejada went 3-for-4 as part of a 12-hit attack as the Orioles snapped a four-game losing streak.
“We hit the ball better tonight,” Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo said. “We have a decent hitting ballclub, but sometimes we weren’t hitting, and sometimes we hit it at them. Today we found some holes and got some good hits, too. We just need to keep everything we’re doing a little more consistent.”
Tejada is 7-for-18 in four games against Tampa Bay this season with five runs scored. He batted .352 (25-for-71) in 18 games against the Devil Rays in 2005.
Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons hit his second homer of the season Monday and is batting .370 while hitting safely in all six games this season.
Baltimore also received an outstanding effort from starter Erik Bedard, who allowed four hits over seven scoreless innings to improve to 2-0 for the year. Bedard also beat Tampa Bay on opening day.
The Orioles, who are 3-1 against the Devil Rays, have 42 hits in their three victories over Tampa Bay this season. They were limited to three hits by Tampa Bay starter Mark Hendrickson in a 2-0 loss last Thursday.
Baltimore appears to have caught a break since Hendrickson was scheduled to start Tuesday. The 6-foot-9 left-hander was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday with left shoulder tightness and could be out for two starts.
With Hendrickson sidelined, Jason Hammel will make his major league debut for Tampa Bay. Hammel was recalled Monday from Triple-A Durham to make the start.
The 23-year-old right-hander was named the organization’s minor league pitcher of the year in 2005 after going 11-4 with a 3.24 ERA in 22 games at Durham and Double-A Montgomery. He missed over a month to start the year due to a broken right forearm.
Hammel made one start at Durham this season, striking out seven and allowing three hits in five innings of an 8-0 victory over Norfolk last Friday as he outpitched former major leaguer Jose Lima.
Tampa Bay designated hitter Aubrey Huff is off to a rough start, going 4-for-21 through seven games with just one extra-base hit. The cleanup hitter is 2-for-11 against the Orioles this season.
Baltimore’s Kris Benson will face the Devil Rays for the second straight game. Benson was the hard-luck loser in his Orioles debut last Thursday despite allowing only two runs and four hits over seven innings.
“I would’ve liked to get the win,” Benson said. “That’s definitely not the way I wanted to kick if off.”
Benson is pitching at Tropicana Field for the first time.