on May 1, 2008 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

Rays winning streak ended by Orioles

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Tampa Bay Rays’ six-game winning streak ended when the Baltimore Orioles broke a first- place tie in the AL East with a 7-4 victory at Camden Yards on Tuesday.

In an unlikely early season battle for top spot between two teams usually near the bottom of the standings, the Orioles took a 7-0 lead and hung on to move a game ahead of the Rays in the division.

Baltimore shares first place with Boston in the East, a game ahead of Tampa Bay, with the Orioles and Rays benefiting from poor starts by the usually dominant Red Sox and Yankees.

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was not discouraged by the loss, which followed series sweeps over Toronto and Boston.

“It was a nice little six-game run, and let’s start another one,” Maddon told reporters.

“I do like the way we battled back, we were down 7-0. There was a good buzz in the dugout. Felt like we had a chance to come back and it just didn’t happen.”

Rookie Garrett Olson carried a shutout into the seventh inning. He wound up allowing two runs on four hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out six and walking five.

Olson was only recalled because Baltimore manager Dave Trembley was short of starting pitchers after a rainout resulted in the team playing four games in three days.

“Tonight he looked like he was going to make them hit it,” Trembley said. “That was a solid performance in a tough spot.

“Those are the kinds of efforts that help you win ballgames and that’s why we’ve been winning our share of games so far.”

Baltimore opened up a 7-0 lead before the Rays scored four runs in the seventh inning. Four relievers combined to close out the game for the Orioles, who improved to 15-11.

Aubrey Huff homered and Melvin Mora had two RBIs for the Orioles, who finished 27 games out of first place in the division last season.

B.J. Upton hit a two-run homer for the Rays (14-12).

(Writing by Roger Lajoie in Toronto, Editing by Ed Osmond)