Tampa Bay (56-37) at Baltimore (30-63)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Baltimore, MD
Temp: 73° F
  • Game info: 12:35 pm EDT Wed Jul 21, 2010
  • TV: SUN, MASN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

If the Tampa Bay Rays are involved in another slugfest any time soon, they would certainly want Carl Crawford(notes) in the lineup.

After falling short in a wild game, the Rays may have to get by without their All-Star left fielder as they play the decisive contest of a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday afternoon.

In a high-scoring matchup, Tampa Bay (56-37) and its potent lineup would normally have a significant advantage over last-place Baltimore (30-63), which has scored the second-fewest runs in the AL. The Orioles, however, managed to even this series with an 11-10, 13-inning win Tuesday night.

Baltimore had lost four straight, scoring two runs or fewer in each game, before Julio Lugo(notes) singled in the winning run.

Tampa Bay fell for the fifth time in 17 games despite scoring eight runs or more for the third time in its last four contests. The Rays remained 2 1/2 games behind first-place New York in the AL East.

They were productive at the plate even though Crawford missed the majority of the game, leaving in the first inning after being struck in the groin with a pickoff throw to first base.

“You couldn’t hit it in a better spot. It just took the wind out of me,” Crawford said. “Right now it’s real sore, but the doctor said there was no damage. I’m guessing I’ll take (Wednesday) off.”

Matt Joyce(notes) replaced him in left field and is a candidate to start there if Crawford misses any more time. Crawford is hitting .317 with 11 homers, 21 doubles, seven triples and 51 RBIs.

Joyce, B.J. Upton(notes) and Reid Brignac(notes) homered to help the Rays compensate for the loss of Crawford. Upton has three homers and seven RBIs in his last four games against the Orioles.

Tampa Bay may need another big game at the plate if James Shields(notes) (7-9, 4.86 ERA) falters again. He is 1-3 with a 5.93 ERA over his last five starts.

The right-hander gave up three runs in six innings while not receiving a decision in a 5-4 loss to the Yankees on Friday night.

Shields has posted a 1.71 ERA in winning three straight starts at Baltimore and is 6-2 with a 3.01 ERA in 16 outings against the Orioles.

Baltimore will counter with Brad Bergesen(notes) (3-7, 6.37), who has a 9.35 ERA in losing both career starts against the Rays.

The right-hander has dropped three straight starts and five consecutive decisions. He allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings of a 4-2 defeat to Toronto on Friday night.

That started the four-game skid for Baltimore, which has to be feeling better about itself after trailing by four in the seventh and 10-9 in the 12th on Tuesday.

“It tells me that these guys are resilient. They don’t give up,” interim manager Juan Samuel said.

Luke Scott(notes), Ty Wigginton(notes) and Adam Jones(notes) hit successive home runs in the second inning to give the Orioles homers in three straight at-bats for the first time since Sept. 5, 1995.

Scott added another homer, his 14th, and is hitting .360 (9 for 25) with four home runs and six RBIs in eight games against the Rays this year.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Shields SD vs. B. Bergesen Ari
13-15 Record 8-12
5.18 ERA 4.98
187 K 81
51 BB 51
1.46 WHIP 1.44

Scoreboard

Wednesday, Jul 21