Huff looks to continue his outstanding hitting against his former team on Wednesday night when the worst teams in the AL East close a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
Huff, though, hit only .258 with six homers and 38 RBIs in the first half of the season. He has been much better lately, batting .364 (36-for-99) with nine homers and 21 RBIs in his last 28 games.
Much of Huff’s production has come against the Devil Rays, the team with which he spent his first seven seasons before he was traded to Houston on July 12, 2006. He is hitting .373 (22-for-59) with seven home runs and 14 RBIs in 16 games versus Tampa Bay.
“(Huff has) hit the ball very well against us,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “Right now, you can see that he’s locked in. He’s not taking bad swings.”
Huff hit a two-run homer in the seventh, and Ramon Hernandez added a three-run double an inning later, leading the Orioles to an 8-4 victory Tuesday.
Markakis matched a career high with four hits as Baltimore (60-77) won for only the second time in 14 games overall, and improved to 11-6 this season against Tampa Bay.
“(Scoring runs late in the game) has been a long time coming,” Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. “These are the kind of things that get you going back in the direction we should be going.”
Hernandez drove in three runs for the second straight game, and is batting .345 (10-for-29) with three homers and nine RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak.
“I have that good feeling when I’m swinging at the ball,” Hernandez said. “It’s a good feeling through my swing that I’ve never had before.”
Radhames Liz (0-1, 7.00 ERA) makes his third major league start for Baltimore. The 24-year-old right-hander lasted only three innings Friday at Boston, yielding two runs, four hits and three walks in the Orioles’ 9-8 victory.
Liz has struggled with high pitch counts in each of his first two starts, totaling 164 pitches in only nine innings.
Tampa Bay (57-82) lost for the third time in 12 games and had a season-high four-game home win streak snapped Tuesday.
Andy Sonnanstine (4-9, 5.88 ERA) looks to build on the best start of his rookie season. The right-hander limited the New York Yankees to one unearned run and two hits in a season-best eight innings Friday in a 9-1 road victory. He did not issue a walk, struck out five and did not allow a home run for the third start in a row.
“I was really using the fastball a lot tonight, and the off-speed pitches were breaking a lot and I was down in the zone,” said Sonnanstine, who has won three of his last four starts after losing eight consecutive decisions.
Sonnanstine has struggled in two starts against the Orioles, losing both while allowing 12 runs and 15 hits in 9 2-3 innings.