American League Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, October 3rd (All times eastern)
Baltimore Orioles (92-68) at Tampa Bay Rays (89-71), 7:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Chris Tillman (9-2, 2.78) Tampa Bay - Jeremy Hellickson (9-11, 3.20)
(Sports Network) - The Baltimore Orioles still have a shot at an American League East crown. But, for that to happen they will need to close their regular season with a series win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Baltimore kept its hopes alive on Tuesday, as Chris Davis homered in his franchise record-tying sixth straight game and the Orioles blanked Tampa Bay, 1-0.
Davis, who has hit seven homers in his last six contests, tied the franchise mark set by Reggie Jackson. Jackson accomplished the feat with Baltimore from July 18-23, 1976.
"It kind of blows my mind to even be mentioned in the same breath as Reggie, but it's more about the win than anything else," Davis said.
Acquired in a midseason trade from the Texas Rangers last year, the 26-year- old has hit .429 (9-of-21) with 13 RBI and nine runs scored during his homer streak.
Rookie Miguel Gonzalez (9-4) struck out seven and allowed just two hits and a pair of walks over 6 1/3 scoreless frames for the Orioles, who sit a game behind the New York Yankees for the top spot in the American League East with just one to play. The Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox in 12 innings later on Tuesday.
Jim Johnson worked around a one-out walk and notched his 51st save of the season.
The O's moved to 29-9 in one-run games this year.
James Shields (15-10) fanned a franchise-record 15 for Tampa Bay, which was eliminated from playoff contention due to the Oakland Athletics' victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday.
"He was outstanding," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Shields. "Great fastball, great changeup and threw the curve a couple times. That was brilliant."
Getting the call for the Orioles on Wednesday will be righty Chris Tillman, who is 9-2 with a 2.78 ERA. Tillman won his fourth straight decision on Friday against Boston, as he held the Red Sox to an unearned run and one hit in eight innings.
"I'm happy with what I've achieved so far this year, but like we've been saying all year, we're not done yet," Tillman said. "We've got a long way to go. It's an exciting time for all of us. I can't tell you how happy I am with this team and the way things have been going, playing good baseball. We've just got to keep it going."
He beat the Rays the last time he faced them, but is 1-2 with a 4.68 ERA in six starts against them.
Tampa, meanwhile, will rely on righty Jeremy Hellickson, who has followed up his AL Rookie of the Year campaign by going 9-11 with a 3.20 ERA. Hellickson lost to the Chicago White Sox on Friday, as he surrendered three runs (2 earned) and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.
In 11 games (10 starts) against the Orioles, Hellickson is 5-3 with a 2.49 ERA.
Baltimore is 10-7 versus the Rays this season.
10/03 10:35:37 ET