Cabrera remained perfect against Tampa Bay and Huff hit another homer against his old team in the Baltimore Orioles’ 3-1 win over the Devil Rays on Friday night.
“Maybe,” Cabrera said with a smile when asked if he had extra confidence when facing Tampa Bay. Then he changed his tune a little.
“When you go out there, no matter who’s out there, you try just to do the best you can.”
Cabrera (8-11) gave up a run and four hits in seven innings with one walk and three strikeouts, improving to 6-0 in his career against Tampa Bay, 3-0 this year. In his last 14 innings against the Devil Rays, he’s allowed a run and five hits.
“We didn’t have a very good offensive night,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “He gets his ground balls, four double plays for us tonight. He did a nice job.”
The Orioles improved to 22-17 since Dave Trembley took over as manager on June 18. The Devil Rays are 8-27 since June 25.
Huff’s three-run homer off James Shields (8-7) gave the Orioles a 3-1 lead in the fourth. It was his first homer since June 29. Three of Huff’s seven homers this season—including a game-winning 10th-inning homer on May 10—have come against Tampa Bay, the team he played with from 2000-06.
“I know I had a couple of really good years here and then after that I started tailing off a little bit,” said Huff, who was booed before each at-bat. “Maybe they were expecting 30 homers and then .300 every year or something and I just wasn’t able to produce that way for them.”
Baltimore has won nine of 10 games, including eight in a row, against Tampa Bay this year.
Shields gave up three runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings. The right-hander is 2-7 over his last 10 starts after starting the season by winning six straight decisions.
“Every game is tough, every pitch is tough,” Shields said. “I lost focus on that one pitch and it cost me. You can’t accept things like that. Personally I can’t accept things like that.”
Tampa Bay loaded the bases on a double and two hit batters with one out in the second, but scored just once.
“That really could have tipped the game in our favor,” Maddon said. “It was all there for us. We can’t blame anybody but ourselves.”
After Dioner Navarro flew out to short center for the second out, Ben Zobrist walked on a 3-2 pitch to put Tampa Bay ahead 1-0. Cabrera avoided further damage by retiring Akinori Iwamura on a fly ball.
“I think that was one of the keys to the game,” Cabrera said. “I got into trouble, and I got out of that trouble. After that, everything went well.”
Tampa Bay executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said talks with the agent for 2007 first overall draft pick, Vanderbilt LHP David Price, are continuing. Friedman said he remains optimistic a deal will be done before August 15. … Shields has given up 24 homers this season. … Ray (strained right elbow) has not yet been cleared to resume throwing. He has been on the DL since July 25. … Devil Rays RHP Jason Hammel (right biceps) threw on level ground at 90-feet. He might make his next scheduled start Tuesday. … Navarro is 1-for-12 with the bases loaded this season. The lone hit was a grand slam July 20 against the New York Yankees.