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TOR@TB: Odorizzi fans seven in 6 2/3 two-run frames

Jake Odorizzi has been on a mini-reunion tour the last few weeks. First, the Rays right-hander faced his hometown team, the Cardinals. Then two starts later, he battled the Royals, who traded him to Tampa Bay in 2012 as part of a deal that sent James Shields to Kansas City.

On Monday, he'll face the Brewers, who drafted him and traded him to the Royals in 2010 in a deal involving Zack Greinke. Kyle Lohse will start for Milwaukee at Tropicana Field.

Odorizzi has given up two earned runs or fewer in seven of his last eight starts and wants to keep his focus on the mound, not on the opponent.

"I've kind of run out of stuff to say about that type of topic," Odorizzi said Sunday. "Treat it like another game, that's about all I can say, is go out and just try to continue what I've been doing and not change anything."

In July, Odorizzi is 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA. Opponents are hitting .263/.317/.421 against him this month.

Lohse, meanwhile, is having a stellar season. He's posted a 3.07 ERA, 1.095 WHIP and 4.04 K/BB ratio in 21 starts, and Milwaukee is 15-6 when he takes the hill.

In his last two starts, Lohse has allowed just two earned runs and 14 hits over 13 2/3 innings. And even when he hasn't had his best stuff, he has found ways to win.

"It almost seems like when guys get on base, he gets even tougher," Nationals center fielder Denard Span said after a July 18 loss to the Brewers. "That's what makes him such a good pitcher."

Rays: Hard road ahead
• Tampa Bay has been red-hot, winning nine straight before Sunday and 20 of 25, passing 12 teams in the standings since the club last held the Major Leagues' worst record June 29. But the upcoming slate is a tough one.

The Rays' next three opponents -- the Brewers, Angels and Athletics --- have the three most wins in all of baseball. The A's and Angels are the top two teams in the Majors, and the A's and Brewers lead their divisions.

But the Rays have had success lately against strong opponents. Tampa Bay has won its last four series against teams in the playoff hunt -- the Blue Jays, Tigers, Yankees and Orioles.

Detroit leads the American League Central, Baltimore leads the AL East and Toronto and New York are battling for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rays took three of four games from both the Tigers and Orioles, beat the Blue Jays two out of three and swept the Yankees.

Brewers: Roenicke plans on splitting DH duties
• Manager Ron Roenicke said he plans on dividing the DH duties in the three-game series beginning Monday in St. Petersburg.

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez didn't start Sunday, so Roenicke said it was possible that Ramirez would DH the first game. Ramirez appeared as a pinch-hitter for the first time this season Sunday, popping out in the eighth inning of a 2-0 loss to the Mets.

"We had planned this a few days ago," Roenicke said. "He needed a day somewhere. Then we'll see what we can do with him in Tampa. We'll get him a day DHing. Maybe [Monday] and then he'll have two in a row."

The Brewers have played five interleague series, but only four games in AL ballparks. In those games, Ramirez started at DH twice. Jonathan Lucroy and Ryan Braun started one game each.

Roenicke said the same trio likely would split the DH assignment, with Carlos Gomez also mentioned as a possibility.

In 10 games last season in AL ballparks, Ramirez was the DH five times, Lucroy three and Khris Davis two.

Worth noting
• Rays reliever Joel Peralta (illness) could return from the disabled list Monday against the Brewers. Peralta pitched one inning in a rehab outing for Class A Charlotte on Saturday, allowing one hit and striking out one.

• Tony La Russa, a Tampa native, was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.

• Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett was expected back in the starting lineup Sunday, but the club wanted to give him more time to rest his right quad. In Sunday's loss, he popped out as a pinch-hitter after not playing since coming out of Tuesday's game against the Reds. 

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