Final

Series: Game 4 of 4

Tampa Bay won 4-0

Game 1: Monday, September 22
Tampa Bay4Final
Baltimore2
Game 2: Tuesday, September 23
Tampa Bay5Final
Baltimore2
Game 3: Tuesday, September 23
Tampa Bay7Final
Baltimore5
Game 4: Wednesday, September 24
Tampa Bay11Final
Baltimore6

Rays 11

(96-62, 39-38 away)

Orioles 6

(67-91, 36-41 home)

7:05 PM ET, September 24, 2008

Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland 

123456789 R H E
TB 000502040 11 8 0
BAL 510000000 6 12 2

W: E. Jackson (13-11)

L: B. Burres (7-10)

S: T. Miller (2)

Rays-Orioles Preview

STATS LLC

Sweeping a doubleheader from the lifeless Baltimore Orioles may not be a great accomplishment, but those wins have put the Tampa Bay Rays on the verge of something far more remarkable -- their first division title.

With a little help from Cleveland, the Rays could leave the field on Wednesday night at Camden Yards as American League East champions.

After winning the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader 5-2, it looked like Tampa Bay (95-62) would settle for a split, trailing the nightcap 5-1 in the eighth inning. The Rays, though, collected six hits, including a two-run single by pinch hitter Dioner Navarro, in a six-run inning en route to a 7-5 victory and the first doubleheader sweep in franchise history.

"That was quite a comeback right there," manager Joe Maddon said. "The whole team contributed."

The sweep gave Tampa Bay a three-game lead over Boston in the East and reduced its magic number to two. A win over the Orioles (67-90) and a Red Sox loss to the Indians would give the Rays the division title after they finished with the worst record in the majors last season.

"We can taste it a little more tonight," reliever J.P. Howell said. "We need a little help from Boston, but we can't rely on them. Let's just keep this thing moving.

"And just because if we win this division doesn't mean we can stop. We have to go all the way to Oct. 30 in my book."

Beating Baltimore hasn't been much of a problem for Tampa Bay, which has won 11 straight meetings and 14 of 17 this season. The sweep enabled the Rays to break the record held by the 1991 Atlanta Braves for most wins by a team that owned the worst record in the majors one year earlier.

While winning the division is the top priority for the Rays, they still have a chance to edge out the Los Angeles Angels for the best record in the AL. The Angels hold a two-game lead in that race.

Baltimore's beleaguered bullpen spoiled a strong performance in the nightcap by Alfredo Simon, who stood to earn the win in his first major league start before Jamie Walker gave up four runs without recording an out, sending the Orioles to their season high-tying eighth straight loss and 27th in 33 games.

Edwin Jackson (12-11, 4.19 ERA) will try to make his final regular-season start a memorable one for the playoff-bound Rays.

The right-hander was 0-3 with a 10.95 ERA in three September starts before a strong showing on Friday in an 11-1 win over Minnesota. He allowed one run and seven hits in 7 2-3 innings to win for the first time since Aug. 28.

Jackson beat the Orioles in his only start against them this season on May 24, yielding three runs and four hits in five innings of an 11-4 victory. He is 1-1 with a 7.50 ERA in four appearances -- two starts -- versus Baltimore.

Radhames Liz (6-6, 6.69) looks to pitch effectively for the third straight start and help his case for a spot in Baltimore's 2009 rotation.

The right-hander has shown positive signs lately after struggling for much of this season. He followed the best performance of his brief career with another strong outing on Friday in the Orioles' 3-2 loss at Yankee Stadium, giving up three runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings.

In his only career start against the Rays on Sept. 5, 2007, Liz was tagged for four runs and six hits in 1 2-3 innings of a 17-2 loss at Tampa Bay.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Gameday Matchup

 Tampa BayBaltimore
W-L97-6568-93
Night71-4454-63
Grass38-3562-78
Current StreakW1L1
Last 106-41-9

Pitching Matchup

Tampa BayBaltimore
E. Jackson
14-11, 4.42 ERA

Last Game:
9/28 at DET
2.0 IP, 2 ER
Dec = Win
R. Liz
6-6, 6.72 ERA

Last Game:
9/24 at BAL
5.0 IP, 4 ER
Dec = ND

Gameday Lineups

NO.Tampa BayBaltimore
1. A. Iwamura, 2B B. Roberts, 2B
2. B. Upton, CF N. Markakis, RF
3. C. Pena, 1B A. Jones, CF
4. E. Longoria, 3B A. Huff, 3B
5. C. Floyd, DH O. Salazar, 1B
6. D. Navarro, C L. Scott, DH
7. G. Gross, RF R. Hernandez, C
8. E. Hinske, LF L. Montanez, LF
9. J. Bartlett, SS J. Castro, SS