While shocking to some, Buck Schowalter's Orioles are two games ahead in the AL East, the division normally dominated by the Yankees and Red Sox, but the youthful Baltimore team has put together good pitching, timely hitting and opponent's miscues to forge to the front with a 22-12 record, tied with Texas as the best in the league.
The Rays committed five errors in the game and Adam Jones singled twice in four at-bats, including a bases-loaded hit in the fifth inning that plated two teammates and put the Orioles up 4-1. The Rays struck back for two runs in the sixth, but the 4-3 deficit was the closest they would get. Bill Hall added an insurance run in the eighth with a solo home run, his first homer of the season.
The Rays are in danger of being swept and dropping out of second place on Sunday when the two teams finish up their three-game series. The Yankees are 2 1/2 out, with Toronto another 1/2 game behind.
The tightest race in the National League is in the East, where Washington leads Atlanta by 1/2 game. Lurking just two games out are the Mets, who separated themselves from fourth-place Miami with a 9-3 road win over the Marlins.
The win evened the tree-game series at a game apiece as Dickey improved to 5-1 and Wright hit safely in his sixth straight game. With 45 hits, Wright is tied for third in that category with San Francisco's Melky Cabrera. St. Louis' Rafael Furcal has 48 hits, one behind Atlanta's Michael Bourne.
The Mets and Marlins conclude the series Sunday afternoon.