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STL@TB: Odorizzi takes a no-hitter into the 5th

Jake Odorizzi and Wei-Yin Chen will square off at Tropicana Field on Monday in the first of a three-game American League East series between the Rays and Orioles.

It will be the third time the clubs have met this season. The Orioles have won all five matchups so far -- two games in April and three in May.

Tampa Bay's Odorizzi is coming off the longest start of his career -- and, he said, the best -- when he threw 7 1/3 innings in a 1-0 loss to St. Louis. His previous career high was six innings, a mark he'd hit three times.

Odorizzi said he worked a new game plan that helped keep his pitch count lower. He was attacking the strike zone with all of his pitches, trying to get opposing hitters into "swing mode."

"Just kind of an eye-opening situation," Odorizzi said. "Why didn't I do this my previous outings? It was a good building point. From a mental standpoint and statistical, both matched up for a full game. When things go that way it just puts it in your head that you can do it every time out."

Odorizzi is 2-7 with a 4.85 ERA this season. The right-hander lost against the Orioles in Baltimore on April 16, allowing three runs in five innings of work.

Chen, Baltimore's starter for Monday's series opener, is 7-2 with a 3.76 ERA in 2014. He is 4-0 in his last seven starts (despite back-to-back five-run outings at the end of May), and 2-0 with a 1.45 ERA in three June starts.

The left-hander beat the Rays in the April series, throwing 6 1/3 innings of one-run baseball against them on April 14.

Neither Chen nor Odorizzi pitched in the May series in St. Petersburg.

Rays: Guyer close to return
Outfielder Brandon Guyer went 1-for-6 for Triple-A Durham as the designated hitter Saturday night.

With his return to the Rays getting closer, the question of what his role will be came up Sunday morning. Rookie outfielder Kevin Kiermaier had started in 11 straight games entering Sunday, and has hit .385 with 10 extra-base hits in his recent stretch.

"I don't know, I haven't put a whole lot of thought into that yet," manager Joe Maddon said. "Guyer was playing well, real well. We'll just wait to see how that plays out."

Guyer has been out since suffering a left thumb fracture on May 26. He was hitting .262 for the Rays this season, with one home run and six RBIs.

Orioles: Rotation should be resolved soon
Miguel Gonzalez and Kevin Gausman remain scheduled to start Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, for the Orioles against Tampa Bay.

So where does that leave Ubaldo Jimenez, who wouldn't pitch until Friday at the earliest? Manager Buck Showalter said prior to Sunday's game that Jimenez could be in the bullpen if needed, and said the club's current six-starter situation will be resolved in the next few days.

"Anybody, not just Ubaldo [can be in the 'pen], if there's a need," said Showalter, who would activate Gonzalez off the disabled list earlier if he uses two long relievers on Sunday. "[Jimenez is] capable of doing that because he has the rest. We also like to think he'll benefit from two work days. He's had an extended work day, but you never know what's going to happen."

The Orioles have an off-day on Thursday and also have the pending suspension of Manny Machado, who is hoping to have his five-game sentence lessened after appeal. Baltimore could send down a starter to clear a roster spot for an extra infielder depending on when Machado serves his suspension. And, as Showalter pointed out, they have sent down starters in the past who have pitched well. Gausman, Gonzalez, Chen and Bud Norris all have options remaining.

Worth noting
• Monday's game is the first in a 10-game homestand for the Rays.

• The Rays turned their first double play since June 3 on Saturday after tying a franchise record by going nine games without one. The Rays have turned 37 double plays this season, fewest in baseball, while the Orioles lead the Majors with 83 double plays turned.

• Chris Davis was given a scheduled off-day on Sunday in the Orioles' series finale against the Blue Jays, but he is expected to be back in the starting lineup Monday at Tampa Bay. Comments