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Souza sizzles as Rays reclaim share of 1st place

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The Tampa Bay Rays pulled back into a tie for first place in the AL East.

OK, OK. So the Rays only have a 26-25 record, and it has taken two straight wins (and a 3-0 victory by Oakland over the New York Yankees). But in a weak division, that’s good enough for a two-game lead over Baltimore, a 3 ½-game lead over Toronto and a four-game lead over Boston.

The Rays were powered by rookie Steven Souza Jr., who hit his 10th homer of the season and his third in three days. Joey Butler had four hits, two of them doubles, in five at-bats.

Rays’ pitcher Jake Odorizzi won his first game in his last five starts for the Rays despite having a 2.45 ERA over his last four starts.

Former Ray Delmon Young hit two home runs for the Orioles.

The Rays now travel to Anaheim to face the Angels in a three-game series. Alex Colome (3-1) will pitch tonight.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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