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Rays Vs. Orioles Recap: Tampa Squanders Opportunities, Drops Series Opener 4-3

The Tampa Bay Rays dropped their weekend series opener in Baltimore on Friday night, dropping a game behind the Orioles in the AL East standings. The Rays simply could not string together a rally and break through against Baltimore starter Dana Eveland. The Rays got five hits and drew six walks off of Eveland but failed to pounce and managed just three runs -- one of which came on a Sean Rodriguez double play and the other on a hit-by-pitch.

Tampa starter Jeremy Hellickson was solid for Joe Maddon, striking out six in 6.2 innings pitcher. But unlike the Rays, the O's got produced by depositing the homers into the Camden Yards seats for and efficient four runs. Adam Jones and Nick Markakis hit solo shots to put the O's down 3-2, and then Nick Johnson came through with a two-run shot that delivered the 4-3 win. Johnson was the first batter after Hellickson was pulled, and Joel Peralta promptly gave up the go-ahead homer.

Tampa will look to pull back into a tie for first on Saturday. Game 2 of the series will feature Matt Moore on the mound for Tampa, while Baltimore will counter with Brian Matusz.

We'll have plenty more on this game throughout the weekend here on SB Nation Tampa Bay, so keep it locked to this StoryStream for all of the latest news and available updates. For more on this and every series for the Tampa Bay Rays, please head over to DRaysBay. For some perspective from the other dugout please check out Camden Chat, SB Nation's Baltimore Orioles blog. As always, you can check out SB Nation's MLB Baseball hub page for more on this and every Major League Baseball series.

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