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The Tampa Bay Rays Beat The Baltimore Orioles 8-2, Eye First Place

The Tampa Bays Rays showed no pity to the Baltimore Orioles today, following yesterday's 6-2 beating with an 8-2 drubbing today. The Rays (19-14) now stand a half game behind the Yankees, who play tonight, and in secure control of the Wild Card position (the next closest team is the Kansas City Royals at 17-15). The Orioles (14-18), meanwhile, have again gone from early-season darlings to cellar-dwellers. The season still has a long way to go (over 100 games), but for a team that started 0-6 and then 1-8, their current standings have created a whole new environment for them to pursue another playoff run.

Today, the Rays flexed their run-scoring abilities and benefited from a multitude of un-cashed Baltimore opportunities. Jeremy Hellickson (3-2) took the mound for th Rays, going 5 innings of 0-run baseball despite allowing 5 walks. The Rays bullpen allowed 2 runs over the final four frames while allowing an additional 5 walks. In all, the Rays allowed an obscene 10 walks, but limited the Orioles to 5 hits and 2 runs. The Orioles hitters left a combined 27 hitters on base in today's slugfest-that-never-was.

The Rays hitters, meanwhile, took advantage of every opportunity. Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, Casey Kotchman, Johnny Damon, and B.J. Upton all hit doubles today -- Upton liked it so much, he hit another double in the 9th for good measure. Longoria and Upton also hit a pair of 3-run homers off beleaguered Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie (1-5).

The Rays will be back in action tomorrow at 1:35 p.m., looking for their vengeance sweep of the Orioles and a team record 8th straight road win.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.