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Conrad’s shot the difference in Rays win

Posted By Will Creager On Jul 24 2012 @ 11:13 pm In Tampa Bay Devil Rays | No Comments

The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 behind a great outing by Jeremy Hellickson. Hellickson (5-6, 3.42 ERA) pitched into the seventh inning, picking up his first win since May 16.

Both Hellickson and Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen (8-6, 3.82 ERA) looked sharp early on, as they each allowed just one baserunner through the first three innings. Hellickson would blink first, however, giving up Adam Jones’ 23rd home run of the season with two outs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

The Orioles 1-0 lead would not last long, though. In the top of the fifth inning, Sam Fuld, who was playing in his first game of the season after getting activated from the 60-day DL earlier today, drew a one-out walk. Chen struck out Jose Lobaton, sending Brooks Conrad to the plate. After Chen got ahead in the count 0-2, Conrad would deposit a 1-2 hanging slider into the left-field bleachers, giving the Rays a 2-1 lead. It was Conrad’s fourth home run on the season.

After Hellickson quickly retired the Orioles in the bottom of the inning, the Rays would pad their lead in the top of the sixth inning. B.J. Upton drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second when Chen balked. Ben Zobrist then bunted Upton up to third, and Jeff Keppinger drove him in with a bloop single to right.

Hellickson pitched around a Nick Markakis double in the sixth inning, and then got Jones to ground out for the first out in the seventh. Joe Maddon then brought in the lefty Jake McGee, who struck out the next two batters. Joel Peralta then pitched a perfect eighth inning with a pair of strike outs.

Things got a bit interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning, when Maddon called upon All-Star closer Fernando Rodney to preserve the lead. Markakis grounded out to start the inning, but then Rodney walked both J.J. Hardy and Jim Thome, bringing the powerful Jones to the plate as the potential winning run. Rodney fell behind Jones 3-0, but then proceeded to strike him out on three straight changeups. Rodney then struck out Matt Wieters on a 2-2 changeups to end the game.

The series resumes tomorrow at 7:05 ET with David Price (13-4, 2.64 ERA) taking on Miguel Gonzalez (2-1, 2.61 ERA).

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