The Tampa Bay Devil Rays wrapped up a successful June with a big night at the plate.
The Devil Rays look to build on their best offensive game of the season and a rare winning month when they continue their three-game series with the struggling Washington Nationals on Saturday at RFK Stadium.
The Devil Rays (35-45) set a season-high for runs scored in Friday’s series opener, routing the Nationals 11-1. Carl Crawford hit a pair of two-run homers for Tampa Bay, which matched a season-high with 17 hits.
“I didn’t hit one out in batting practice so I was definitely just trying to hit line drives,” Crawford said after his third career multihomer game. “I wasn’t even thinking about home runs today.”
The victory allowed the Devil Rays to finished June with a 14-13 record— just the sixth winning month in team history and the first since last August, when they went 15-13.
“We do have some power but our biggest concern is hitting with runners in scoring position and we did that,” manager Joe Maddon said.
Julio Lugo went 3-for-5 and is batting .630 (17-for-27) during his seven-game hitting streak. Aubrey Huff doubled three times, tying a Tampa Bay club record achieved six previous times, and is hitting .473 (26-for-55) in interleague play.
Meanwhile, the Nationals suffered their most lopsided defeat of the season after completing a 1-8 road trip to Boston, Baltimore and Toronto. Ryan Zimmerman singled in the only run in the eighth inning for Washington (33-48), which lost its fourth straight to fall a season-worst 15 games under .500.
“Looking back at the times back at Montreal, and the times here last year I don’t remember, this organization, this ballclub being this bad,” said Jose Vidro, who was drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1992. “It’s frustrating. … In the time that I’ve been here this is the worst.”
Livan Hernandez (6-8, 5.57 ERA) will look to help Washington bounce back. He allowed three runs and six hits in six innings of Sunday’s 9-5 win over the Baltimore Orioles, ending a personal three-start losing streak.
Hernandez was coming off a loss at Boston in which he gave up six runs in just 1 2-3 innings and had allowed 15 runs in 15 1-3 innings during the losing streak.
Hernandez has made four career starts against the Devil Rays, going 2-1 with a 5.54 ERA.
Tampa Bay will counter with rookie James Shields (4-1, 4.37), who allowed season-highs of seven runs and 10 hits in five innings of Monday’s 8-5 loss to the Florida Marlins. Shields, who made his major league debut on May 31, had won his previous four starts, allowing just five runs over that span.
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