Huff's blast in 10th spoils gem by ShieldsMay 10, 2007 - 3:32 AM BALTIMORE (Ticker) -- James Shields pitched nine marvelous innings for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. It took Brian Stokes just nine pitches to make it all for naught.
Aubrey Huff belted a one-out home run in the 10th inning, lifting the Baltimore Orioles to a 1-0 victory Wednesday over the Devil Rays.
Entering with a 3-0 record, Shields did everything he could to improve it against Baltimore. After yielding a one-out single by Huff - a former Devil Ray - in the second inning, the righthander retired 11 straight batters and allowed just one baserunner until Kevin Millar's base hit with one out in the eighth.
"For the most part, up until the last couple of innings, I had pretty good fastball command," Shields said. "I kept the team in the ballgame as long as I could."
The only real trouble Shields ran into came in the ninth, when Brian Roberts hit a one-out double. But the 25-year-old buckled down, retiring Nick Markakis and Miguel Tejada on flyouts to keep the game scoreless.
"From what I've seen so far, probably his best pitching performance," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "I believe in this young guy. I think he's going to be very good."
Baltimore attempted to stage a rally the previous inning, when Millar singled. But Shields got Jay Gibbons to foul out before pinch runner Corey Patterson was thrown out attempting to steal second by catcher Dioner Navarro.
The Orioles have been caught stealing just five times in 27 attempts this year.
Lasting at least seven innings for the fifth time in seven starts this season, Shields surrendered just three hits and a walk in nine frames. He struck out four and threw 65 of his 107 pitches for strikes.
"I'm just going one game at a time, one inning at a time and one pitch at a time," Shields said. "That's just the way I'm working right now."
On the season, Shields has struck out 49 batters while walking just 10.
"I think today, more or less, it was my fastball command," he said. "I probably threw my changeup a handful of times, so I didn't throw it too much today, which is pretty unusual for me."
Unfortunately for the Devil Rays, who have lost four of their last five games, Stokes (1-4) was nowhere near as successful as Shields. After getting Ramon Hernandez on a flyout to center, the 27-year-old watched his 1-1 offering to Huff sail over the wall in center field, ending the masterfully pitched contest.
"It's all I had when I hit it," Huff said of his first homer in nine games. "After I saw Markakis' ball go out there (in the ninth), I didn't know whether or not I got enough of it."
"It was a pitch going away from him," Stokes said. "If he was going to beat me, he was going to beat me away, and he beat me. ... It was a little up, and it was my fault. It's a recurring theme and I'm just frustrated."
Despite Stokes' poor pitch selection, Shields was not ready to blame his teammate.
"Those things happen," Shields said. "All I can do is keep our team in the ballgame as long as I can and hope for the best. Unfortunately, it didn't work out today."
The blast, Huff's fourth of the season, made a winner of John Parrish (1-0). The lefthanded reliever struggled in one inning of work, however, loading the bases on three singles in the top of the 10th before retiring B.J. Upton on a groundout.
Baltimore started Erik Bedard matched Shields' effort for seven innings, yielding just three hits and three walks while striking out 10. The southpaw, who retired eight in a row at one point, threw 62-of-97 pitches for strikes.
"I thought (Bedard) had his really good stuff this time," Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "Stuff-wise, he was pretty darn good. Breaking ball outstanding, changeup he used a little more and his fastball, he could put it pretty much where he wanted it."
"I think you can't say enough about Bedard," Huff added. "He went out and gave us a great game and gave us a chance to go out and score some runs. On the other side, Shields was dealing as well."
Tampa Bay threatened to take a 1-0 lead in the very first inning against Bedard, as Carl Crawford doubled with two outs. But Ty Wigginton was unable to drive in the speedy outfielder, striking out to end the frame.
Crawford and Jorge Cantu each had two hits for the Devil Rays, who fell to 1-4 against the Orioles this season.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
- - - - - - - - -
TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
BALTIMORE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 R H E
-- - - -
TAMPA BAY 0 0 7 0
BALTIMORE 1 1 4 0 (FINAL 10)
May 9 9:50 PM
AT BALTIMORE - SCORING UPDATE
SOLO HOME RUN BY AUBREY HUFF (4) TO CENTER WITH 1 OUT IN
THE 10TH OFF BRIAN STOKES.
FINAL SCORE: BALTIMORE 1, TAMPA BAY 0
Rays vs. OriolesMay 9 9:50 PM
AT BALTIMORE - MID INNING UPDATE
PLAY: J Parrish relieved C Ray.
SITUATION: 0 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 0 OUTS
CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
BALTIMORE 0 TOP, 10TH
DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B Harris (.329, 0-FOR-3)
May 9 9:29 PM
AT BALTIMORE - PITCHING CHANGE
BAL: JOHN PARRISH (0-0, 5.02) STARTING THE 10TH
CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0, BALTIMORE 0
DUE UP FOR TAMPABAY: B HARRIS (.329, 0-FOR-3)
May 9 9:29 PM
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
BALTIMORE 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 (TOP 10)
CURRENT PITCHERS: TAM - JAMES SHIELDS
BAL - CHRIS RAY
DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: B HARRIS (.329, 0-FOR-3)
R BALDELLI (.227, 0-FOR-3, HBP)
E DUKES (.215, 0-FOR-3, BB)
May 9 9:29 PM
- Rays' Kiermaier expected to miss 8-10 weeks with broken hand May 23
- Orioles-Astros Preview May 23
- Rays-Marlins Preview May 23
- Baseball Capsules May 22
- Tigers beat Rays 9-4 but Zimmermann, Cabrera hurt May 22
- Perez's 5 RBIs help Weaver and Angels top Orioles 10-2 May 22
- Archer hit hard as Rays fall 9-4 to Tigers May 22
- Signs of progress for Stanton in Marlins' 8-2 loss to Nats May 22
- Shoemaker strikes out 12, Angels lose 3-1 to Orioles May 22
- Wieters homers in ninth to lift Orioles past Angels, 3-1 May 22
- Orioles-Angels Preview May 22
- Kiermaier breaks hand, Rays fall to Tigers 5-4 May 21