For Shields and for the Rays in general, the emphasis is simple. Tampa Bay, which boasts the best road record (33-18) of any Major League team, is trying to assert that same dominance at home. The Rays have battled back from a slow start to go 27-20 at home for the season, and Shields, who has just one home win all season, wants to continue that momentum.
"It's nice to get back home, especially after that long road trip we just had," said Shields. "It's very important for us to win at home. We've done a phenomenal job on the road, and that's kind of the crazy part of the game. One year, you're good at home and not good on the road, and this year, fortunately, we've been really good on the road and not so good at home."
The Tigers played a depleted lineup in Garza's no-no, thanks to three regulars -- Brandon Inge, Carlos Guillen and Magglio Ordonez -- on the disabled list, but Shields knows better than to expect an easy outing. The Tigers still have American League MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera and top rookies Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch, presenting a stiff challenge.
"Detroit's been known to have some young guys come up and play really well," said Shields. "They've got a couple young guys now who are playing really well and stepping it up. I think they brought up a couple guys who are pretty good, and we can't take them lightly. It doesn't matter who's coming in or who got hurt or anything, our goal is to win games."
Detroit, meanwhile, has a fairly simple strategy to try to contain Tampa Bay. The Rays currently lead the Majors with 126 stolen bases, a statistic fueled largely by Carl Crawford (34), B.J. Upton (27) and Ben Zobrist (19). Tampa Bay managed to nab three bases on Monday night, and the Tigers are determined to pull out all the stops for the rest of the series.
"We might set a record [Tuesday] night for the number of times we throw to first base," said manager Jim Leyland. "The trick to the running game is you have to be aware of it, but you can't be consumed by it."
Meanwhile, Verlander, the man with the most to lose from Tampa Bay's team speed, got off a good quip. When asked how he'd limit the running game, he made a simple statement.
"Not let them on base," said Verlander -- himself an owner of a no-hitter -- detailing the only foolproof way to slow down the Rays. "But if they do, there's obviously some things -- hold the ball, quick pitch -- you can do."
Tigers: Verlander on a roll
Verlander, who has won seven of his last nine starts, finds himself in the thick of an extended hot streak. The right-hander started slow with a 1-2 record and a 5.53 ERA in April, but he's rebounded to win 11 of his last 14 decisions. Verlander has completed at least six innings in 13 of his last 15 starts, and he's allowed three earned runs or less 12 times in that span.
The former first-round Draft pick is 4-0 with a 3.55 ERA in six career starts against Tampa Bay, but he's been a first-half pitcher for his career. Verlander is 48-26 with a 3.55 ERA before the All-Star break and 29-22 with a 4.44 mark after the intermission in his five-plus seasons as a big-league starter. Last year, the Virginia native went 9-5 with a 3.52 ERA after the break.
Rays: Shields wants home to be sweeter
Shields, who has lost eight of his last 11 decisions, finds himself looking for something to turn things around. The right-hander went 1-5 with a 7.67 ERA in June, and he's modestly rebounded to a 2-1 record and a 5.47 mark in July. Shields hasn't managed a win at home since April 28, and he's gone 1-5 with a 5.59 ERA in his nine starts at Tropicana Field.
"I feel like I've pitched pretty well the last couple starts," said Shields. "Things can get better. That's the good news. With a little luck on my side and keeping up what I'm doing and grinding it out, things will happen. The other pitchers have been stepping up. [Wade Davis has] been doing a great job his last couple starts, and [David] Price has been doing his thing."
Tampa Bay's first no-hitter came in the franchise's 2,039th game. ... Garza's feat means that only two big league franchises -- the Mets and Padres -- have never thrown a no-hitter. ... Garza's no-hitter was the fifth this season, the most since 1991, when there were seven. ... Detroit hadn't been no-hit since 1990. ... Shields lowered his ERA to 2.99 as recently as May 25, but he's gone 3-7 with a 7.11 ERA in his last 11 appearances, causing his ERA to rise by nearly two full runs (to 4.90). ... Leyland was ejected from Monday night's game after arguing with second-base umpire Marty Foster after an Upton stolen base.
Tue, 7/27 7:10 PM ET
Rays double their pleasure vs. Tigers
After Matt Joyce hit a go-ahead RBI double in the sixth, Rafael Soriano let the Tigers load the bases with one out in the ninth, but the Rays' closer induced a game-ending 5-4-3 double play to preserve Tampa Bay's win.
|Jackson, A, CF||5||0||1||0||0||1||3||.314|
|Cabrera, Mi, 1B||4||1||2||0||1||0||4||.349|
|Sizemore, S, 3B||4||0||2||0||0||2||1||.204|
2B: Cabrera, Mi 2 (35, Shields, Shields), Sizemore, S (6, Shields), Jackson, A (25, Soriano, R).
TB: Jackson, A 2; Rhymes 2; Damon 2; Cabrera, Mi 4; Raburn; Avila; Sizemore, S 3; Santiago.
RBI: Raburn (23).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Santiago; Rhymes 2; Sizemore, S; Boesch 2.
GIDP: Cabrera, Mi.
Team RISP: 2-for-13.
Team LOB: 11.
Outfield assists: Jackson, A (Zobrist at 2nd base).
DP: (Cabrera, Mi).
2B: Joyce (8, Verlander).
HR: Pena, C (22, 1st inning off Verlander, 1 on, 2 out).
TB: Zobrist; Crawford; Pena, C 4; Joyce 2; Bartlett.
RBI: Pena, C 2 (63), Joyce (13).
2-out RBI: Pena, C 2; Joyce.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Longoria; Aybar, W 2; Pena, C.
Team RISP: 1-for-5.
Team LOB: 4.
SB: Crawford 3 (37, 2nd base off Verlander/Avila, 2nd base off Verlander/Avila, 3rd base off Verlander/Avila), Zobrist (20, 2nd base off Verlander/Avila).
E: Bartlett (8, throw).
DP: (Longoria-Brignac-Pena, C).
IBB: Cabrera, Mi (by Choate).
Pitches-strikes: Verlander 113-72, Shields 102-71, Choate 10-3, Balfour 3-3, Benoit 14-9, Soriano, R 33-22.
Groundouts-flyouts: Verlander 5-8, Shields 5-3, Choate 0-0, Balfour 0-0, Benoit 0-0, Soriano, R 1-1.
Batters faced: Verlander 31, Shields 29, Choate 2, Balfour 1, Benoit 3, Soriano, R 5.
Inherited runners-scored: Choate 1-0, Balfour 3-0.
Umpires: HP: Fieldin Culbreth. 1B: Marty Foster. 2B: Gary Cederstrom. 3B: Ed Hickox.
Weather: 72 degrees, dome.
Compiled by MLB Advanced Media