Rays-Diamondbacks Preview

While the Tampa Bay Rays are in the mix for both the AL East and

wild-card leads, the Arizona Diamondbacks must string together some

victories in order to remain a serious NL playoff contender.

Looking to win consecutive games for the first time in almost

two weeks, the Diamondbacks try to sweep the two-game interleague

set from the visiting Rays on Wednesday night.

Cody Ross hit a three-run homer and Wade Miley threw seven

strong innings as Arizona (57-55) avoided a third straight defeat

with a 6-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Monday.

The Diamondbacks have won three times – twice versus Tampa Bay –

in nine games. They trail the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers

by five games and are 4 1/2 out of the final wild-card spot.

Arizona last won consecutive games July 25-26.

“We just have to put runs on the board more,” said third

baseman Eric Chavez, who is 5 for 11 with seven RBIs in three games

versus Tampa Bay this season.

The Rays (66-46) lost for the ninth time in 37 games. They lead

the wild-card race and are 1 1/2 games behind first-place Boston in

the East.

Evan Longoria’s solo homer gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead in the

fourth, but Arizona scored four times in the bottom of the frame to

break things open.

Longoria is 2 for 23 in his last six contests following an

11-game hitting streak.

Ross has batted .452 (14 for 31) with three homers and 10 RBIs

in his last eight games.

“He’s barreling the ball a lot better,” Diamondbacks manager

Kirk Gibson said. “You can see that coming on. He’s much calmer at

the plate and not jumping at the pitch.”

Arizona’s Randall Delgado (4-3, 3.17 ERA) takes the mound

looking for a fourth straight winning start, but he allowed six

runs – four earned – and a pair of two-run homers while striking

out seven in six innings of a 7-6 victory at Boston on Friday.

The right-hander, who threw 14 2-3 scoreless innings over his

previous two outings, is 1-5 with a 6.35 ERA during interleague

play.

“He actually hung in there pretty good,” Gibson told the

Diamondbacks’ official website. “We kept grinding away.”

Delgado gave up a grand slam to Matt Joyce, two other hits and

walked five in four innings of a 5-2 loss at Tampa Bay last

season.

The Rays counter with Chris Archer (6-4, 2.65), who gave up four

runs in 37 innings while going 4-0 in five July starts, but matched

that total while allowing two homers in seven innings of a 4-1 loss

to San Francisco on Friday.

“It’s good to stay humble and continue to work. It’s all just a

reminder,” Archer told the Rays’ official website. “You’re facing

major league hitters. Just because you had a couple scoreless

outings doesn’t mean that they can’t score four or five runs off

you in one-third of an inning.”

Making his first appearance against the Diamondbacks, the

right-hander is 0-2 with a 3.46 ERA against NL opponents.

Teammate Wil Myers is batting .415 (17 for 41) during a 10-game

road hitting streak.