Cleveland (34-52) at Tampa Bay (52-34)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 84° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Sat Jul 10, 2010
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Matt Garza’s(notes) cameo as a closer went well, but Tampa Bay hopes he can get back on track in his more familiar starting role.

Making his third appearance this week, Garza tries to help the Rays bounce back from their second loss this month Saturday night against the visiting Cleveland Indians.

After winning his previous two starts, Garza (9-5, 4.28 ERA) allowed four runs and threw 84 pitches in three innings of a 6-5 win over Boston on Monday. However, because of that short outing and with All-Star closer Rafael Soriano(notes) needing a day off, Garza earned his first career save by getting two outs to close Wednesday’s 6-4 win over the Red Sox.

“It was for the team and to help the team win,” Garza told the Rays’ official website. “It’s all great.”

Back in the rotation, the right-hander looks to improve on his 1-4 record and 5.59 ERA against Cleveland.

To do that, Garza will have to cool off Cleveland’s Jayson Nix(notes). The versatile Nix homered for the sixth time in seven games to help the Indians (34-52) snap Tampa Bay’s six-game winning streak with a 9-3 win Friday.

The Rays (52-34) are 7-2 in July after going 11-14 in June.

After scoring six runs during a three-game skid, Cleveland broke out to snap a six-game losing streak at Tropicana Field.

Acquired by the Indians after being released by the White Sox late last month, Nix has given a boost to a Cleveland lineup without injured hitters Grady Sizemore(notes) (knee), Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) (forearm) and Shin-Soo Choo(notes) (thumb).

“Stuff like this happens sometimes,” said Nix, batting .303 with eight RBIs in his last eight games. “It’s a funny game. It’s just one of those things I can’t really explain.”

Two of Nix’s three hits in 23 career at-bats against Tampa Bay have been home runs.

After All-Star Fausto Carmona(notes) held the Rays to two runs in 6 2-3 innings and helped the Indians even the four-game set, Aaron Laffey(notes) (1-2, 5.18) looks for a solid outing of his own Saturday.

The left-hander is 1-1 with a 4.40 ERA in three starts since being recalled from the minors. He allowed two runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 9-3 win at Texas on Monday.

“I just had trouble putting guys away,” Laffey told the Indians’ official website. “I didn’t throw enough strikes. That’s something I have to work on is staying more consistent in the zone.”

In his only previous start against Tampa Bay on July 10, 2008, Laffey allowed two runs in six innings of a 13-2 win.

Carlos Pena(notes) and B.J. Upton(notes) combined for four of Tampa Bay’s six hits Friday. Pena homered for the second straight game, giving him a team-leading 18 on the season.

“It’s a good sign,” said Pena, hitting .205, but .353 against Cleveland in 2010.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Laffey Col vs. M. Garza Mil
2-3 Record 15-10
4.53 ERA 3.91
28 K 150
28 BB 63
1.62 WHIP 1.25


Saturday, Jul 10