Baltimore (17-20) at Tampa Bay (23-15)

Fair Currently: St. Petersburg, FL
Temp: 80° F
  • Game info: 4:10 pm EDT Sat May 14, 2011
  • TV: MASN2, SUN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Leading the AL in batting average, Tampa Bay’s Matt Joyce(notes) doesn’t show any signs of cooling off.

Joyce and the first-place Rays look to win their fifth straight against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday as they try to move above .500 at home for the first time this season.

After an elbow injury limited him to 77 games last season, Joyce has been among the biggest contributors on a Tampa Bay (23-15) team that lost Carl Crawford(notes), the Rays’ top hitter in 2010, to free agency in the offseason.

Joyce, a .243 hitter over 180 games the previous three years, is batting .369 this season. He’s increased his average 28 points in the last six games, going 11 for 23 with three doubles and three homers during that span.

Joyce hit a two-run shot - his third homer in four games - in the second inning and Jeremy Hellickson(notes) pitched a four-hitter in a 3-0 win over Baltimore on Friday. The Rays were swept by the Orioles at home to open the season, but have won the last four meetings, including a sweep at Camden Yards last weekend.

While Jeremy Guthrie(notes) didn’t make many mistakes in his complete game, he did allow an eighth-inning home run to Johnny Damon(notes), who recorded his 2,606th hit, breaking a tie for 73rd place on the all-time list with Tim Raines and Rabbit Maranville.

Baltimore (17-20) had totaled 40 hits in a three-game sweep of Seattle, but was held to two runs or fewer for the fifth time in eight games. The Orioles are hitting .165 in their last four games against the Rays, scoring seven runs.

“Hellickson, obviously, was in command,” manager Buck Showalter said. “Didn’t have many good at-bats off of him.”

Friday’s win evened the Rays’ home record at 10-10. They haven’t been above .500 at Tropicana Field this year after losing their first five home games.

While Tampa Bay is averaging 5.5 runs during a 7-1 stretch, its starting pitching has also been outstanding. Rays starters are 7-0 with a 1.69 ERA in that eight-game span.

Manager Joe Maddon will turn to the streaking Wade Davis(notes) (4-2, 3.07 ERA) to continue the trend.

Davis has won his last four decisions and the Rays have won his last five starts. He went five innings at Baltimore on Sunday, allowing three runs, four hits and five walks in a 5-3 victory.

The right-hander is 4-2 with a 3.09 ERA against the Orioles. He lost to them on April 3, surrendering four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 5-1 defeat.

Baltimore will send struggling Brad Bergesen(notes) (0-4, 5.57) to the mound.

The Orioles have lost all six of Bergesen’s starts and he hasn’t made it past the sixth in any of those outings. He lasted 4 2-3 innings against the Rays on Sunday, allowing five runs and nine hits opposite Davis.

The right-hander is 0-5 with a 9.13 ERA in five starts against the Rays.

Joyce has three hits - all doubles - in eight at-bats against Bergesen while B.J. Upton(notes) is 7 for 13.

Upton is eligible to return to the lineup after he served the second game of a two-game suspension handed down by Major League Baseball following a tirade after an ejection on May 4.

Related Articles

Starting Pitchers

B. Bergesen Ari vs. W. Davis KC
2-7 Record 11-10
5.70 ERA 4.45
61 K 105
32 BB 63
1.50 WHIP 1.38


Saturday, May 14