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TB@BAL: Longoria belts a three-run shot to left

BALTIMORE -- Tampa Bay rolled out all the weapons Saturday afternoon en route to an 8-0 win over Baltimore at Camden Yards with 18,961 watching.

The Rays claimed their seventh consecutive road win -- tying a single-season club record -- while moving to 19-14 on the season. The Rays have a chance to sweep the series with a win Sunday afternoon, which would return the favor after the Orioles swept them at Tropicana Field in the first series of the season.

Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, and B.J. Upton were among the most prominent of the offensive weapons employed by Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Zobrist singled to left off Jeremy Guthrie with one out in the first, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. One out later, Longoria doubled to left to score Zobrist and give the Rays a 1-0 lead.

In the third, John Jaso walked and Zobrist hit a double to bring Longoria to the plate with an open base and two outs. Fortunately for Longoria and the Rays, Matt Joyce stood on deck, and he's been one of the team's hottest hitters of late. That factored into the O's decision to pitch to Longoria.

"If you see Jeremy's numbers against [Longoria] and you see probably their hottest hitter right now is Joyce, he's had a little success there," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "And I like the matchup of a veteran pitcher and good catcher. We went to a place where we weren't trying to throw the ball."

The Orioles pitched to Longoria, and the All-Star third baseman made them pay by powering his first home run of the season into the left-field stands to give the Rays a 4-0 lead.

"Those thoughts were going through my mind," said Longoria, who wondered if he would get anything to hit in that situation. "But Jeremy's aggressive. He pitches to contact for the most part.

"I didn't want to go into that at-bat thinking he may walk me. I've done that in the past and went up there and rolled over on a ball I could have hit a long way. I just tried to stay in the at-bat. I'm sure he didn't want that pitch where it was at. I just tried to stay in the at-bat and have a good approach."

Upton got word before the game that he had been suspended for two games due to his ejection in Wednesday night's loss to Toronto. The Rays' center fielder opted to appeal the decision, which allowed him to play Saturday. He celebrated his freedom in the fifth with an opposite-field three-run homer off Guthrie that put the Rays up, 7-0.

"I like hitting in this ballpark," Upton said. "And I just so happened to have a good day."

The troika of Zobrist, Longoria and Upton finished with nine of the team's 15 hits. In addition, they scored five runs and drove in seven.

Meanwhile, Sam Fuld provided the defensive weaponry with a diving catch to end the fourth and robbed Matt Wieters of a home run in the eighth by leaping at the left-field wall and pulling the ball back. Fuld said the robbery was just the second he's managed to pull off at the Major League level. He also denied Manny Ramirez of a home run at Dodger Stadium.

"To me, I have to contribute somehow," said Fuld, who has seen his average drop from .350 to .250 in a week's time. "I'm certainly not doing it with the bat right now. It's just as important if you save three runs if you drive in three runs."

Jeremy Hellickson started for the Rays and navigated several trouble spots to hold the Orioles scoreless for five innings -- despite walking five -- to earn his third win.

"I really didn't have a feel for any three of my pitches today," Hellickson said.

Rays manager Joe Maddon smiled when speaking about Hellickson managing to get through some tough spots.

"He never gets worried, he's still that same gum-chewing guy," Maddon said. "Like, 'I don't know what's going on, I know I'm not right today, but I've got to get this next hitter out.'"

Entering Saturday's game, Hellickson had received the highest run support in the American League. The Rays scored eight runs in his five innings to keep that ball rolling. Comments