ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. &
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon talks all the time about trying to turn Tropicana Field into the "The Pit" &
a ballpark that is a miserable place for opposing teams to play.
Well, the surprising Rays seem to be on their way to doing just that.
Matt Garza took a four-hitter into the eighth inning and Carl Crawford snapped a scoreless tie with a fifth-inning single Friday night, helping the Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-0 for their 10th win in 11 home games.
Although attendance in the domed stadium continues to lag (13,635 on Friday night), the Rays improved the second-best home record in the AL to 17-8. They have won 11 of 15 games overall, and their 13 wins in May are a franchise record.
"You need a pitching performance like we got," manager Joe Maddon said after Garza, Trever Miller and Troy Percival combined on Tampa Bay's sixth shutout of the season, all of them at Tropicana Field.
The Orioles have been shut out two of their past three games and were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position against Garza (3-1). They've been outscored 12-1 during a three-game losing streak and haven't homered in 28 1-3 innings.
The Rays' sixth home shutout broke the previous team record of five in 1998. Only Cleveland (seven) has more shutouts overall.
"We had to pitch like we did," Maddon said. "It's been the formula &
good pitching, solid defense, a timely hit now and then, and it seems to be working."
Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie (2-5) was almost as good as Garza, allowing one run and four hits in 6 2-3 innings.
The Ashland High product limited the Rays to a pair of walks and Dioner Navarro's third-inning single until Eric Hinske opened the fifth with a single and stole second. Crawford's two-out RBI single made it 1-0.
Garza rebounded from allowing seven runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings at St. Louis to shut down the Orioles while working out of situations with runners in scoring position in the second, fifth and sixth.
Baltimore wasted Huff's leadoff triple in the second when he was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Ramon Hernandez's chopper to first base. After Adam Jones walked to load the bases, Garza got out of the inning by getting Freddie num to ground to second.
"We had Garza right there, had the right guys up, and it just didn't happen for us," Trembley said. "That's a tough part of the game that you're going through right now, and you've just got to find a way to get through it."
Rays shut out Guthrie, Orioles to continue home dominance
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. &