Tampa Bay (2-5) at Texas (4-4)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Arlington, TX
Temp: 48° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Wed Apr 11, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Hosting the Tampa Bay Devil Rays has brought out the best in the Texas Rangers’ offense over the past few seasons.

The Rangers look to win their seventh straight game over the Devil Rays at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as they conclude their three-game series on Wednesday.

After scoring 19 runs in its first six games, Texas (4-4) has scored 20 in two games against Tampa Bay (2-5).

The Rangers defeated the Devil Rays 12-9 on Tuesday, their 14th win in the last 17 games against them at Rangers Ballpark since the start of the 2003 season.

Texas is averaging 10.0 runs during its six-game home winning streak over Tampa Bay, scoring at least six runs in each of those contests.

The Rangers won for the fourth time in five games with Tuesday’s victory, as Frank Catalanotto hit a three-run homer in a seven-run third inning.

Kenny Lofton entered Tuesday’s game just 3-for-26 (.115), but reached base five times and led off the first with a homer for the 29th time in his career.

“Kenny and I feel that we need to get going to jump start this offense,” Catalanotto said. “We hadn’t been doing that. If we start getting on base, those guys will drive us in.”

First baseman Mark Teixeira had two hits and two runs on Tuesday, and is batting .323 (21-for-65) with 19 runs, five homers and 15 RBIs in 17 career home games against the Devil Rays.

Robinson Tejeda (1-0, 0.00 ERA) looks for a repeat performance of his first start of the season as he takes the mound for Texas on Wednesday. Tejeda scattered two hits—one of them an infield single—and three walks over seven innings in the Rangers’ 2-0 victory over Boston on Friday in manager Ron Washington’s first major league win.

“Robby did exactly what I preached. He pounded the strike zone,” Washington told the team’s official Web site. “If he keeps it in the strike zone, he’ll be fine.”

Tejeda’s start in Friday’s home opener was vastly different than the way he pitched at Rangers Ballpark last season. The right-hander went 0-3 with a 7.17 ERA in five home starts in 2006 as opponents batted .344 against him.

Tejeda as never faced Tampa Bay at Rangers Ballpark, but he looked sharp in both starts against them last season, going 2-0 while allowing four runs in 12 2-3 innings.

After starting the season 2-1, the Devil Rays have lost four straight games as their pitching staff has allowed 34 runs.

“It’s still early, but it doesn’t look good now,” outfielder Carl Crawford said. “Hopefully it will change in the future. It was sloppy, a lot of things were happening, and then all of a sudden we were losing by a lot of runs.”

James Shields (0-0, 4.05) takes the ball for Tampa Bay on Wednesday, as he tries to put an end to the Devil Rays’ pitching woes.

Shields gave up three runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-5 win over Toronto on Friday in Tampa Bay’s home opener, but he did not factor in the decision.

Shields looks for better success on the road this season after a difficult time away from Tropicana Field last season as a rookie. The right-hander went 2-5 with a 5.65 ERA in 11 road starts in 2006, and the Devil Rays were winless in his final eight road starts.

Shields has never played at Rangers Ballpark, but won his only career start against Texas last season, giving up three runs and eight hits in six innings of a 4-3 victory on Aug. 21.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Shields KC vs. R. Tejeda Cle
12-8 Record 5-9
3.85 ERA 6.61
184 K 69
36 BB 60
1.11 WHIP 1.78

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Apr 11