The Orioles, who have all of their wins this season against the Devil Rays, wrap up a four-game series Thursday at Tropicana Field.
Baltimore (4-5) has ripped Tampa Bay pitching for 39 runs and 53 hits in four wins so far in 2006. In the six losses, including a 7-4 setback Wednesday, the Orioles have managed only 14 runs and 35 hits.
Right-fielder Jay Gibbons has enjoyed facing the Devil Rays (4-5) so far this season. He has hit safely in five of six games against them, batting .450 (9-for-20) with four doubles, two homers and eight RBIs.
The Devil Rays are looking for a split in this series. Jonny Gomes’ first career grand slam snapped a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning and lifted the Rays to their first win of the season over the Orioles.
“There are so many at-bats in a year,” Gomes said. “But there are just a few at-bats you’ll never forget for the rest of your life. Your first grand slam, you have in the bottom of the eighth and win the game. You never forget something like that.”
Bruce Chen will try and get the Orioles back in the win column. The left-hander is 3-1 with a 4.01 career ERA in seven starts against Tampa Bay. He has not lasted more than seven innings in any of those starts, and has given up at least one homer in all of them.
Chen took the loss in his first start of 2006. He gave up two runs and six hits through five innings in a 2-1 loss to Boston on Saturday.
But Chen seems to pitch better on the road. In his last seven road starts, he is 5-2 with a 2.09 ERA and has not given up a homer in three of those outings. One of those wins came against Tampa Bay on Oct. 2.
The Devil Rays (4-5) will send Doug Waechter to the mound in search of his first win. He faced Toronto on Saturday and lasted only 3 2-3 innings, allowing three runs and six hits in an 8-4 loss.
The right-hander is 0-2 with a 7.88 ERA in three career starts versus the Orioles.
Tampa Bay third baseman Ty Wiggington homered for the second straight game Wednesday and has three for the season. He had only six in 57 games last season with Pittsburgh.
Devil Rays second baseman Jorge Cantu may be back in the lineup after suffering a bruised left foot Friday against Toronto. Tampa Bay on Thursday placed third baseman Aubrey Huff on the 15-day disabled list with a left knee sprain. He could be out 4-to-6 weeks.