Baltimore (6-6) at Tampa Bay (5-7)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 90° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Mon Apr 16, 2007
  • TV: MASN2, WXPX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Baltimore Orioles have not been above .500 in almost a year. They’ll look to do that Monday night when they open a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field.

The Orioles (6-6) have won six of nine since being swept in season-opening three-game series at Minnesota, and will try to top the .500 mark for the first time since they were 13-12 on April 29.

Baltimore was looking to sweep a four-game series from Kansas City, but Sunday’s series finale was postponed by rain. The Orioles hit .352 and outscored the Royals 16-6 in three games. They also pitched well in the series, allowing five earned runs and a 1.61 ERA. The bullpen did not allow a run in 10 innings.

“The pitchers are doing a great job, basically giving us a chance to win every game,” Baltimore catcher Paul Bako said.

Even with center fielder Jay Payton (strained left hamstring) and catcher Ramon Hernandez (strained left oblique) on the disabled list, Baltimore has remained competitive, though it will be without outfielder Corey Patterson for at least two games after the death of his grandfather.

“The guys have been playing hard,” manager Sam Perlozzo told the Orioles’ official Web site. “They take all the player losses in stride. They don’t even think about it. I think that’s a good thing.”

Kevin Millar is hitting a team-high .306 and will take an eight-game hitting streak into Monday’s game.

Baltimore went 2-4 on its first road trip of 2007 with both wins coming against the New York Yankees.

Left-hander Adam Loewen (1-0, 1.80 ERA) gets the start for the Orioles on Monday. In his most recent outing, Loewen scattered five hits and walked four over five innings, but didn’t factor in Baltimore’s 4-1 12-inning loss to Detroit on Wednesday.

Loewen went 1-0 with a 7.20 ERA in three games - two starts - against the Devil Rays during his 2006 rookie season

Tampa Bay (5-7) has played just three games at Tropicana Field - losing two. Monday’s game is the first of an eight-game homestand.

The Devil Rays won 6-4 at Minnesota on Sunday to split the four-game series with the Twins. Catcher Dioner Navarro went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and hit an RBI double off Twins closer Joe Nathan to break a tie in the ninth.

Delmon Young went 1-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs. The right fielder is hitting .347 with three homers and 10 RBIs and has hit safely all 12 games.

The Devil Rays have homered in all 12 games to lead the majors with 19.

“Things do change as the season progresses,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “We have a good AL lineup now with speed and power. I think we are developing a lineup that can score in all spots of the order.”

James Shields (1-0, 4.61) will make his third start for the Devil Rays on Monday. He allowed four earned runs and five hits in seven innings of Tampa Bay’s 6-5 win over Texas on Wednesday.

The right-hander has a 5.25 ERA, but didn’t earn a decision in his only two career starts against Baltimore last year.

Baltimore went 13-6 against Tampa Bay in 2006 including a 6-4 mark at Tropicana Field.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Loewen Phi vs. J. Shields SD
2-0 Record 12-8
3.56 ERA 3.85
22 K 184
26 BB 36
1.75 WHIP 1.11

Scoreboard

Monday, Apr 16