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SEA@TB: Shields strikes out 11 en route to the win

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are riding high after taking the first two games of their three-game series with the Rays, but Adam Jones knows better than to get overconfident.

Not with James Shields taking the mound on Sunday.

"They call him 'Big-Game James,'" Jones said. "He's one of the pitchers that I've said has huge [guts] when he takes the mound, and he comes right after you, and I'm coming right after him."

Jones has gotten the best of those exchanges to this point, hitting .387 with a homer and four RBIs off Shields in 31 at-bats.

With so many plate appearances against him, Jones likened their confrontations to a chess match. Each is trying to feel the other out, looking to get the upper hand in the mental game.

"We both go right after each other, and I love that competition," Jones said. "I've got to raise my level for him, because he's that [darn] good."

As good as Shields has been this season -- 5-1 with a 3.23 ERA -- he said he's had to make a few changes.

In his last outing against Texas, in which he threw six innings and gave up three runs to shoulder the loss, Shields said he felt he was drifting a little bit.

"Just little minor stuff, pitcher's nit-picky stuff," Shields said. "It should be up to par now."

Jake Arrieta will take the hill for the O's, looking to rebound from his poor outing on Tuesday against Texas. He gave up six runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings, taking the loss.

After allowing only four home runs after his first six starts, Arrieta allowed three against Texas, including two off the bat of Josh Hamilton. Arrieta said the key to keeping the Rays in the yard is as simple as keeping the ball down.

"That's what I've tried to implement and do all year," Arrieta said. "I know if I do that consistently, which I'm very well capable of doing, I'm going to have a lot of good outings."

Orioles: Bullpen perfection
• The Orioles bullpen has retired all 19 batters it has faced this series. Jim Johnson, Luis Ayala, Pedro Strop and Darren O'Day have combined for a perfect 6 1/3 innings, recording 12 groundouts, three flyouts and four strikeouts.

Baltimore's bullpen has pitched to a 2.07 ERA this season, the second best in the Majors behind Texas' 1.91.

• Bill Hall's solo home run in the eighth inning Saturday was the O's 23rd home run in the seventh inning or later. Baltimore's 22 home runs in the seventh inning or later was the best mark in the Majors entering Saturday.

Rays: Scott producing in homecoming
• Luke Scott, who played for the Orioles from 2008 through 2011, knocked a two-RBI single on Saturday, his only hit in a 1-for-4 game.

Scott now has 24 RBIs this season. He recorded just 22 RBIs in 64 games with Baltimore in 2011.

• Sean Rodriguez extended his hit streak to 10 games with a sixth-inning single on Saturday. He finished the game 1-for-4.

Worth Noting
• The Orioles and Rays both received significant contributions on Saturday from players who were not even on their active rosters a week ago. Hall, who had his contract selected from Triple-A Norfolk on Saturday to replace an injured Mark Reynolds, homered in the eighth inning. Fellow O's newcomer Steve Tolleson, who joined the 25-man roster on Thursday, hit an RBI double in the second. For the Rays it was Brandon Guyer, who hit a second-inning home run, his first of the season, after having his contract selected from Triple-A Durham on Wednesday.

• Players on the Rays roster have combined to hit just .208 in 53 at-bats against Arrieta. In his most recent start against Tampa Bay, on June 10, 2011, Arrieta allowed only two hits in seven shutout innings.

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