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Indians Look For Second Straight Win Over Rays In Tampa

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays had a six-game winning streak halted on Friday and will attempt to get back on track tonight, when they continue a four-game series with the Cleveland Indians at Tropicana Field.

Lefty Aaron Laffey will get the start on the road tonight for the Indians. The hurler owns a 1-2 record with a 5.18 earned run average and is coming off a no-decision against Texas on Monday. In that game Laffey pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing just one earned run on five hits.

Laffey is 1-0 with a 3.97 ERA in his career against Tampa.

Matt Garza is 9-5 with a 4.28 ERA this season, and the Tampa Bay righty will be on the mound this evening. He only lasted three innings against Boston on Monday, surrendering four earned runs on seven hits. Garza has allowed 107 hits in 107 1/3 innings and has recorded 84 strikeouts for the year.

Garza has yet to face Cleveland this season and is 1-4 with a 5.59 ERA lifetime against the Indians.

The Rays had their winning run snapped with a 9-3 loss to Cleveland on Friday. The Indians' Jayson Nix continued his torrid recent hitting by belting his sixth home run in seven games to help his team end a three-game slide.

Nix, who hit his 19th career homer, had hit only 13 other home runs in 147 career games prior to this unprecedented stretch.

"I don't know," said Nix when asked of his recent power binge. "I don't try [to hit home runs] -- it just happens in the game sometimes. It's a funny game, and stuff like this happens sometimes. It's nothing I'm trying to do by any means. It's one of those things I can't really explain."

Jhonny Peralta added three hits, including a three-run homer, in the win.

Indians first baseman Matt LaPorta, who had missed the last three games with a head contusion, continued his own hot streak with a three-hit game. LaPorta, who was the key part of the deal that sent CC Sabathia to Milwaukee in 2008, has batted .382 with four homers and 10 RBI in 10 games since his recall on June 27.

Fausto Carmona (8-7), in his final start before heading to the All-Star Game, gave up two runs on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts in 6 2/3 frames to earn the win.

"From what I saw, we were chasing a lot of pitches out of the zone," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We need to be a little more patient with [Carmona] the next time we see him. Permit him to walk us because he can do that. He's got really good stuff, and it's difficult to lay off."

Carlos Pena homered and drove in two runs for the Rays in Friday's loss. Starting pitcher James Shields (7-9) continued to struggle, yielding four runs and six hits in 6 1/3 to take the loss. The righty has gone 2-8 with a 6.87 ERA in his last 10 games.

Tampa swept a two-game series from the Indians back in May, but Cleveland has won five of the last eight meetings between the teams.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.