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Tampa Bay Rays up next: Baltimore Orioles

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vs. Orioles

Tonight-Wednesday

What's new: To the surprise of many, the Orioles have hung on and have not only clinched their first playoff spot since 1997 but are tied with the Yankees for the AL East title. The Orioles have done it with a powerful offense (led by 30-homer guys Chris Davis and team MVP Adam Jones), a dominant bullpen (led by 50-save guy Jim Johnson), a patched-together rotation and a tremendous managing job by Buck Showalter. They have gotten key contributions from name players such as Jones, Davis, 1B Mark Reynolds and C Matt Wieters, and unexpected help from the likes of journeyman OF Nate McLouth, 20-year-old rookie 3B Manny Machado and veteran DH Jim Thome.

Key stat: The O's are 28-9 in one-run games, 53-22 in games decided by one or two.

Connections: Rays DH Luke Scott spent the previous four seasons in Baltimore; O's RHP Hammel came up with the Rays and pitched for them through 2008.

Series history: O's lead 9-6 this season, 129-126 overall. Rays lead 67-60 at home.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Tampa Bay Rays up next: Baltimore Orioles 09/30/12 [Last modified: Monday, October 1, 2012 12:25am]
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