Tampa Bay (83-51) at Baltimore (49-86)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Baltimore, MD
Temp: 69° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Sat Sep 4, 2010
  • TV: SUN, MASN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The best road record in the majors is a big reason why the Tampa Bay Rays appear primed for their second postseason appearance in team history.

Three visits to Baltimore have certainly aided that cause.

After opening a nine-game road trip with another victory over the Orioles, the Rays look to set a franchise record in road wins Saturday night while improving to 7-1 at Camden Yards.

Tampa Bay (83-51) is 1 1/2 games behind first-place New York in the AL East, but it has a seven-game edge on Boston in the wild-card race in part because of its 40-25 record on the road.

The Rays won 40 road games in 2008 en route to their first division title, a single-season club record they matched with a 4-1 victory Friday night.

They’ve scored 49 runs while winning six of seven at Baltimore - often sparked by Carl Crawford(notes). The All-Star outfielder had three hits and an RBI on Friday, improving to 10 for 21 with three doubles, two triples and a homer at Camden Yards in 2010.

Tampa Bay’s James Shields(notes) (13-11, 4.73 ERA) will be looking to win his fifth consecutive start at Baltimore as he takes the mound. The right-hander has never lost at Camden Yards, going 4-0 with a 3.04 ERA in eight starts.

Shields has also posted a 2.75 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 19 2-3 innings while winning his last three starts overall.

With Sunday’s 5-3 win over Boston, Shields passed Scott Kazmir(notes) and took sole possession of Tampa Bay’s franchise record in career victories with 56.

“This organization has given me the opportunity to be able to pitch as long as I have here and hopefully I get a ton more,” Shields told the Rays’ official website. “It definitely means a lot, but my focus right now is to go to the playoffs and win a World Series.”

Seven of his wins have come against the Orioles, his most against any opponent, but Shields’ most recent loss came against Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie(notes) (8-13, 3.94 ERA), who allowed two hits in six innings of a 5-0 win over Tampa Bay on Aug. 13.

Guthrie was even better Sunday against the Angels, overcoming some lower back tightness to pitch into the ninth inning of a 1-0 victory over Los Angeles ace Jered Weaver(notes).

“I pitched well, but I can’t say it’s the best I’ve thrown this year,” Guthrie said. “It’s an indication of where we are as a team.”

The right-hander has gone 5-3 with a 2.51 ERA since the All-Star break, helping Baltimore (49-86) improve its dismal season.

The AL-worst Orioles are 17-13 since manager Buck Showalter took over Aug. 3, but Friday’s defeat was their third straight - their longest skid under Showalter. They were 0 for 6 with men in scoring position as their season average in those situations slipped to .234 - 29th in the majors.

“I kept hoping we would put something together,” Showalter said. “The key to the game is we scored one run.”

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Starting Pitchers

J. Shields KC vs. J. Guthrie KC
13-15 Record 11-14
5.18 ERA 3.83
187 K 119
51 BB 50
1.46 WHIP 1.16

Scoreboard

Saturday, Sep 4