The resilient O's do it again, plus other notes

If there is one thing we should have learned about the 2012 Orioles, probably long before now, is they are amazingly resilient and can bounce back time and time again.

They took another hit last night when Jason Hammel limped off the mound injured, just two games after Nick Markakis headed off the field injured. But that didn't keep the Orioles from winning 9-2 over Tampa Bay to start a big three-game series.

Six pitchers combined for a five-hitter as the O's, at least last night, overcame the early exit by Hammel. They also bounced back from Sunday's blowout loss to New York by posting their own blowout vs. the Rays.

Some other notes on the Orioles:

* After the last eight games, this is how the Orioles stood in the AL East race: one game back, tied for first, one game back, tied for first, one game back, tied for first, one game back, tied for first. We'll see if they break that pattern tonight and possibly move into sole possession of first in the division.

* With a fifth-inning single last night, Adam Jones extended his current hitting streak to nine games. He is 13-for-37 (.351) during the streak with three homers and six RBIs. Jones had a career-best 20-game hit streak from May 10-29 and that is tied for the longest in the majors this year.

* J.J. Hardy hit two homers, had four hits and drove in five runs last night. That is one off his career best of six RBIs that he had on Sept. 7, 2005, for the Brewers against the Mets. Hardy now has 11 extra-base hits over his past 17 games. In that stretch, he is batting .324 (22-for-68) with six doubles, five homers and 14 RBIs.

* Tampa Bay began last night leading the majors in team ERA (3.22) and opponents' batting average (.230). The Rays' team ERA since the All-Star break was 2.46. Despite those great stats, the O's came up with nine runs and 13 hits vs. Tampa Bay. The last time they allowed that many runs was when they gave up 10 vs. Cleveland on July 18.

* Meanwhile, the Orioles continue to pitch well vs. Tampa Bay. The Orioles have allowed just two runs in their last three games and six runs total over the last five vs. the Rays. In order, they have allowed two, two, zero, zero and two runs to the Rays. Tampa Bay has scored just two runs over its last 30 innings against Baltimore pitching.

* The Orioles went 4-for-9 batting with runners in scoring position last night while Tampa Bay went 0-for-4. The Orioles are batting .391 (18-for-46) with RISP in their last seven games.

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