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W:M.Moore(8-7) L:T.Hunter(4-7) S:F.Rodney (32)
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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Friday, August 3rd (All times Eastern)

Baltimore Orioles (55-50) at Tampa Bay Rays (55-50), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Baltimore - Tommy Hunter (4-6, 5.68) Tampa Bay - Matt Moore (7-7, 4.01)

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays return home after a successful road trip tonight to start a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles at Tropicana Field.

Pitching drove the Rays on their 6-3 trek, as they pitched to a 1.70 ERA and claimed series wins in Baltimore, Anaheim and most recently, Oakland.

On Wednesday against Oakland, Alex Cobb fired seven innings of one-run ball, propelling Tampa to a 4-1 win. Carlos Pena clubbed an RBI double and added a solo home run in the eighth for the Rays, who enter tonight's set tied with the Orioles for second place in the American League East and 1 1/2 games back of the second wild card spot in the league.

Cobb (5-8) surrendered just four hits and one walk while striking out six to snap a three-start losing skid. Fernando Rodney tossed a scoreless ninth to nail down his 31st save of the season.

"We played very good ball clubs. We took series away from home, on the road, which is always a good sign," said Pena of his team's recent trip. "A 6-3 road trip is something that we need to be pleased about and we are."

Since the All-Star break Tampa's staff leads the majors with a 2.45 ERA, 197 strikeouts and a .200 opponents' batting average

"As long as our pitchers are on a roll, we have a good shot," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Hoping to continue that run tonight will be 23-year-old lefty Matt Moore, who is coming off one of his better starts this season. Moore defeated the Angels on Saturday, scattering four hits over 6 1/3 scoreless innings to run his record to 7-7, while lowering his ERA to 4.01.

"Obviously I'm going to try and build on that by getting ahead," Moore said. "Try and finish hitters a little bit quicker."

He has gone 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA in his last three starts.

Moore beat Baltimore the last time he faced the club and is 1-1 with a 3.09 ERA in three games (2 starts) in this series.

Baltimore enters this set after an impressive series win over the division- leading New York Yankees. The Orioles, though, were denied the sweep in Wednesday's finale, falling 12-3.

Still and all, the Orioles are above .500 (55-50) this late in a season for the first time since they were 60-60 on Aug. 17, 2005.

Getting the call for the Orioles tonight will be righty Tommy Hunter, who is 4-6 with a 5.68 ERA. Hunter pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief on Wednesday, but is still scheduled to go tonight.

Hunter is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA in four starts against the Rays, but hasn't faced them since 2010.

Tampa has won five of its nine matchups with the Orioles this season.

08/03 10:28:52 ET