ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Before yesterday's game, Derrek Lee was 2-for-28 with runners in scoring position, ranking last in average among American League hitters with at least 25 at-bats. He was 3-for-31 (.097) with five RBIs before today.
Better, but still not good. He continued to rank last among active players. Detroit's Magglio Ordonez is worse, but he's also on the disabled list.
Lee came up big in the third inning today, driving in two runs with a single off Rays starter Andy Sonnanstine to increase the Orioles' lead to 3-0.
Brian Roberts reached on a rare bunt single - his dive into first base probably wasn't a good idea - and Nick Markakis doubled into left-center field to put runners on second and third.
Lee made sure they both scored.
Vladimir Guerrero followed with his second double of the game, but Sonnanstine retired the next two batters. Guerrero's batting .291.
Rays shortstop Elliot Johnson hit is first major league home run leading off the bottom of the third. Orioles 3, Rays 1.
Jake Arrieta has thrown 46 pitches, including 29 strikes, through three innings.
Update: Markakis led off the fifth inning with his fourth home run of the season, increasing the Orioles' lead to 4-2.
Is Markakis heating up?
He's 4-for-6 over the last two games to raise his average to .242. He's also 7-for-21, 10-for-29 and 14-for-42, depending on how far back you want to go.
Arrieta has allowed two runs and four hits in five innings, with one walk and five strikeouts. He's thrown 76 pitches, 49 for strikes.
The Orioles knocked out Sonnanstine after five innings. He allowed four runs and eight hits, with no walks and two strikeouts, in five innings.