The return home to Tropicana Field helped the Tampa Bay Devil Rays end a frustrating season-high, seven-game losing streak.
They’re now looking to move forward with a second straight win Saturday when they continue their weekend series against the Baltimore Orioles.
The Devil Rays have lost nine straight on the road but ended their skid with a 14-7 win in Friday’s season opener. The 14 runs were a season high and just three fewer than they scored during the losing streak.
“What happened on the road trip, that’s in the past,” said Devil Rays second baseman Jorge Cantu, who had a grand slam and finished with five RBIs.
Cantu has homers in consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 19-20.
Despite the optimism from the win, manager Joe Maddon put Friday’s win in perspective given Tampa Bay (49-57) has lost 10 of its last 12 and remains last in the AL East.
“It’s one game, only one game,” he said. “One good (game) doesn’t necessarily cure everything.”
Tampa hasn’t won back-to-back games since winning three straight against the Boston Red Sox from July 3-5.
Devil Rays right-hander Tim Corcoran (4-1, 2.48 ERA), who has accounted for two of Tampa’s last three wins, looks for his fourth win in five starts. Corcoran had won four straight before losing his last start Monday against the Minnesota Twins, who reached him for four runs and seven hits in six innings of a 6-3 defeat.
“I just lost a little bit of focus out there,” Corcoran said of Monday’s start. “I’m just trying to get it back.”
Corcoran, who was called up in June and had won his prior three starts, has no record in two appearances against the Orioles in which he allowed two runs and two hits in 7 1-3 innings last year.
The Orioles (44-54) will counter with Rodrigo Lopez (6-10, 6.44), who is 2-2 in his last five starts, but is 10-4 with a 3.79 ERA in 17 lifetime appearances against the Devil Rays. The right-hander is 2-0 in as many starts against Tampa this season despite allowing 10 runs and 15 hits in 13 2-3 innings.
Lopez turned in one of his best outings of the season Sunday against the Texas Rangers, scattering five hits and a walk in 5 2-3 scoreless innings of Baltimore’s 4-0 win.
“Whatever happened in the past I try to leave behind,” Lopez said. “Over the (All-Star) break, I tried relaxing. Forget about everything. I came back here like any other day and tried to do what I love to do … pitch and help my team win.”
Orioles catcher Javy Lopez has missed the last four games with lower back pain
Baltimore has lost three in a row and is 3-5 since the All-Star break. The Orioles, though, have won 10 of their last 14 games against the Devil Rays.