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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, July 31st (All times Eastern)

Tampa Bay Rays (53-50) at Oakland Athletics (56-46), 10:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - James Shields (8-7, 4.52) Oakland - Tommy Milone (9-7, 3.51)

(Sports Network) - Tommy Milone tries to continue his home dominance on Tuesday when the Oakland Athletics continue a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays at the Coliseum.

Milone has been terrific in front of his home fans this season, going 5-1 with a major league-best 0.91 ERA over eight starts, while holding opposing batters to a .184 average.

The road, though, has been a different story and that was evident on Thursday in Toronto, as he surrendered six runs (5 earned) and eight hits in seven innings to fall to 9-7 on the season to go along with a 3.51 ERA. He has pitched to a 5.77 ERA away from home this season.

"You just push this one aside," Milone said after the game, "and keep playing the way we've been playing."

Milone beat the Rays earlier in the year in his only other meeting against them, but was not sharp in surrendering five runs in five innings.

Opposing him will be righty James Shields, whose name has been bandied about in trade rumors, but seems to be staying put. At least for the time being.

Shields lost his second straight decision on Thursday in Baltimore, as he allowed five runs and six hits in six innings to fall to 8-7 on the year, while raising his ERA to 4.52. He did strike out 10 batters for the second straight start.

The 30-year-old righty has faced Oakland 11 times and is 4-3 with a 4.58 ERA against them.

"Oakland's a good team. They've done really well since the All-Star break," Shields said. "They're making a push just as much as we are."

Oakland continued to roll in Monday's opener, but needed some extra time to do it, as Jemile Weeks' sacrifice fly in the 15th inning carried the A's to a 4-3 win.

Brandon Inge led off the frame with a single off of Kyle Farnsworth (0-3) and moved to second on a sac bunt from Kurt Suzuki. Seth Smith was then issued an intentional pass and Eric Sogard worked a walk before Weeks lifted a fly ball to right-center that was caught, but Inge easily beat the throw home for the win.

Brandon Hicks hit a solo home run while Chris Carter and Suzuki each drove in a run for the Athletics, who improved to 19-4 this month - their best record in July in franchise history.

Jordan Norberto (3-1) got the win for pitching a scoreless 15th for Oakland, which nailed down its MLB-best 12th walkoff win.

Carlos Pena drove in two runs while Matt Joyce had a solo homer for the Rays, who had won their previous two games.

Oakland took two of three from the Rays earlier in the year.

07/31 10:32:41 ET