Tampa Bay (25-18) at St. Louis (25-20)

Fair Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 60° F
  • Game info: 2:15 pm EDT Sun May 18, 2008
  • TV: FSFL, KSDK
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Edwin Jackson might not have a decision in his last two starts, but he’s done just about everything to assure the Tampa Bay Rays emerge victorious in his recent appearances.

The Rays hope Jackson can guide them to another win Sunday as they conclude their three-game interleague series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Tampa Bay (25-18) has won each of Jackson’s last two starts - a span in which he has yielded 11 hits and two walks over 15 scoreless innings.

In his last outing, Jackson (2-3, 3.47 ERA) limited the New York Yankees to five hits and struck out five over seven innings in a 2-1, 11-inning triumph on Tuesday.

He failed to receive a win or loss for the second straight time, and fell to 0-3 with a 4.58 ERA in six starts since beating Seattle on April 10.

“(Jackson) is pitching way too good not to get a win out of this,” closer Troy Percival told the Rays’ official Web site.

Jackson lost his only appearance against the Cardinals on Sept. 12, 2004, when he gave up a run and a hit in two innings of relief in a 7-6 defeat as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jackson - 1-2 with a 9.88 ERA in four interleague starts last season - will try to help Tampa Bay avoid back-to-back defeats for the first time since its three-game skid from May 2-4.

The Cardinals (25-20) came away with a 9-8 win on Saturday to even this series after Ryan Ludwick hit his second homer of the game in the 10th inning.

Albert Pujols homered and drove in two runs - one day after his 42-game streak of reaching base and 14-game hitting streak both ended.

But it was Ludwick’s fourth career two-homer performance that led St. Louis to its third win in 11 games and helped the team improve to 2-3 on its six-game homestand.

“It got out of the ballpark and thank goodness, it’s a ‘W,’” said Ludwick, who is batting a career-high .336 and leads the Cardinals with 10 homers.

Tampa Bay starter Matt Garza gave up seven runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings on Saturday as the AL East-leading Rays lost for just the second time in 10 games.

Carlos Pena hit a three-run homer in the seventh inning for Tampa Bay, which erased a four-run deficit behind a season-best 18 hits.

Manager Joe Maddon, however, was disappointed after five runners were thrown out on the bases.

“We made up for the minimal amount of mistakes that we had not been making all in one day,” he said. “I’m not pleased with it. We can’t do that kind of stuff.”

The Cardinals, meanwhile, will try for back-to-back victories for the first time since a three-game run from May 4-6 behind Kyle Lohse (3-2, 4.91).

Lohse, though, is 0-2 with a 10.06 ERA in his last three starts, allowing 19 runs and 22 hits over 17 innings in that stretch.

The right-hander gave up four runs and five hits in seven innings on Tuesday in an 8-4, 10-inning home loss to Pittsburgh.

Lohse is 5-2 with a 2.53 ERA in nine games - eight starts - against the Rays. He went 0-4 with a 10.42 ERA in four starts versus AL opponents in 2007.

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Starting Pitchers

E. Jackson ChC vs. K. Lohse Mil
14-11 Record 15-6
4.42 ERA 3.78
108 K 119
77 BB 49
1.51 WHIP 1.30

Scoreboard

Sunday, May 18