The Tampa Bay Rays broke out of their prolonged slump by knocking around one of baseball's hottest pitchers.
The Rays will face another pitcher that has been throwing the ball well Saturday night when Ubaldo Jimenez goes for the Cleveland Indians.
After finishing with four hits while losing Thursday's series opener in Cleveland 3-1, Tampa Bay (44-40) pounded out five during a six-run fifth inning alone Friday, eventually totaling 13 in a 10-3 victory. B.J. Upton had three of the hits while Ben Zobrist and Luke Scott each had two-run homers for the Rays, who had averaged 2.9 runs while batting .209 over their previous 11 games.
"Everyone contributed up and down the lineup," Scott said. "We did a good job collectively, and it paid off for us."
Scott's hit may have been most significant, as his sixth-inning blast snapped a Tampa Bay franchise-record hitless streak at 41 at-bats.
"Take a 300-pound gorilla and pull it off my back, that's how it feels,'' Scott said after getting his first hit since June 1. "I just felt relief, felt thankful.''
While the Rays obviously hope Scott's hit can boost his confidence, the team should also feel good about the way it got to Justin Masterson. The Cleveland right-hander entered Friday with a 1.50 ERA over his previous five starts, but was tagged for eight runs in 4 1-3 innings as the Indians lost for the first time in four games and dropped three back of AL Central-leading Chicago.
Jimenez (7-7, 4.59 ERA) hasn't been quite as sharp lately as Masterson had been, but still owns a 2.93 ERA over his last six outings. Despite limiting the damage on the scoreboard, Jimenez has been backed by 11 total runs of support in those outings, leaving him with a 2-3 record.
Against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday, the right-hander permitted three runs, eight hits and four walks in 7 2-3 innings of a 3-0 loss.
"Ubaldo pitched well again," manager Manny Acta told the Indians' official website. "I like the way he's throwing. He's establishing his fastball and he's in the strike zone, and he doesn't have a lot of traffic out there like he did early in the year. I think he's (headed) in the right direction."
In his only career start against the Rays on June 18, 2009, Jimenez gave up one run and six in 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3 win for Colorado.
Tampa Bay counters with Matt Moore (5-5, 4.17), who will be making his first career appearance against the Indians.
Moore gave up three runs and nine hits in seven innings of Monday's 4-3 win over the New York Yankees. The rookie left-hander has won his last four decisions, and has a 3.18 ERA in his last seven starts.
Although he hasn't been as sharp on the road, going 1-2 with a 5.28 ERA in his last five outings, he could have the advantage against one of baseball's hottest hitters.
Cleveland's Shin-Soo Choo has hit safely in eight of nine games while batting .459 with three homers, nine RBIs and 12 runs, but is hitting .202 on the season against lefties.
- Cleveland Indians
- Ubaldo Jimenez
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Luke Scott
- The Rays
- Tampa Bay