Kate Barrington  |  Sun 7th Apr   | MLB

The San Francisco Giants and Tampa Bay Rays split the first two games of their inter-league series. Now, it’s time to settle the score in their third and final matchup of the season on Sunday (4:05 PM EST) at Oracle Park.

The Giants finally ended a three-game losing streak, as Brandon Belt blasted a homer and drove in three runs in Saturday’s 6-4 victory. The win couldn’t get even bigger for San Francisco, who is seeking some spark after dropping six of their first eight games of the season.

The Rays, on the other hand, have now lost two of their last three games after piling up five consecutive victories in impressive fashion. This series finale against the Giants will be a huge test for Tampa Bay as they challenge for the AL East title.

Sunday’s pitching showdown will pit Giants’ lefty Drew Pomeranz against Rays righty Yonny Chirinos. The Tampa Bay Rays are -1.5 over the San Francisco Giants.

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San Francisco Giants Team Preview

Giants fans have at last witnessed what their team is capable of when everything is clicking on offense.

Belt, who never abandoned hope that the Giants would get a breakthrough at some point, gave the Giants a go-ahead lead with an RBI single in the third inning. And just when things were tightening up, the 30-year-old veteran then delivered a two-run blast in the fifth inning that virtually sealed the deal for his team.

Believe it or not, San Franciso’s six runs in the game is their highest output this season. The Giants offense has been so far mediocre at best, as they rank 25th in the league in runs (25), 24th in batting average (.212), 27th in on-base percentage (.270) and 24th in slugging percentage (.332).

But Saturday’s night outburst might be the momentum-shifter they have been looking for. Without a doubt, another win against this formidable Rays squad will change the complexion of the season for the Giants.

Tampa Bay Rays Team Preview

After winning their series against the Houston Astros and Colorado Rockies, the Rays looked poised of sweeping their three-game series with the Giants following Friday’s 5-2 victory in the series opener.

However, issues are surfacing bit by bit, starting with their inability to produce runs in bunches.

The Rays might have the best pitching rotation in baseball right now (2.09 ERA), but their batting corps isn’t any close to elite. Same as the Giants, the Rays are nothing more than a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of batting average (.226), slugging percentage (.324) and on-base percentage (.290).

If they want to stun the baseball world by beating the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees for the AL East Division title, the Rays must understand that they need to increase their productivity at the plate.

San Francisco Giants vs. Tampa Bay Rays Betting Pick

The Giants are the underdogs in the series against the Rays, and yet they are proving that they can hold the forth against one of the hottest teams in the league.

Pomeranz, who allowed two runs and six hits with six strikeouts in his Giants’ debut that lasted five innings, is going to give the Rays all sorts of problems with his deep repertoire of pitches.

As for the Rays, they are betting on Chirinos to equal or even better his performance in his season-debut. The 25-year-old hurler allowed one run and two hits with six strikeouts over seven innings in the Rays’ 3-1 victory over the Astros last March 30.

Again, pitching will be the biggest weapon for the Rays in this game. However, if they somehow can get big numbers from their key sluggers Ji-Man Choi and Kevin Keimaier, then the result of the match would just be a foregone conclusion. Bet the Tampa Bay Rays -1.5 over the San Francisco Giants.

Check out all of our MLB previews & picks here

Kate Barrington