Orioles 9, Rays 2: J.J. Hardy collected four hits - including a pair of two-run homers - and drove in five as host Baltimore moved into a tie for the lead in the American League East.
Chris Davis homered, Matt Wieters added a two-run double and six pitchers combined on a five-hitter as the Orioles pulled even with the New York Yankees, who lost at rival Boston 4-3.
Ryan Roberts launched a solo homer in the third inning and Elliot Johnson led off the eighth with his sixth blast. The Rays mustered little else offensively and dropped two games behind Baltimore in the races for both the division title and second wild card.
After Roberts' blast leveled the contest at 1-1, Hardy answered with a man aboard to regain the lead for Baltimore. Hardy deposited a changeup from Matt Moore (10-10) into the third row over the wall in left field to record the fourth 20-homer season of his career.
Hardy added an RBI single in the sixth inning to give Baltimore a 6-1 lead before capping the scoring in the eighth with a two-run shot over the wall in left-center field. The blast gave him nine career multi-homer games - including two this season.
All was not rosy for Baltimore, which saw starter Jason Hammel exit in the fourth inning with an injury to his surgically repaired right knee. The former Tampa Bay right-hander was making his second start since returning from the disabled list following surgery in mid-July.
Steve Johnson (3-0) replaced Hammel and had two walks and two strikeouts in 1 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Moore yielded three runs on four hits in four innings to take the loss. ... Baltimore has won seven of the 13 meetings between the AL East rivals. ... Roberts, who is dealing with a left forearm strain, underwent X-rays for precautionary measures. The X-rays were negative ... The Orioles designated veteran reliever Kevin Gregg and INF Ryan Adams for assignment and purchased the contracts of OFs Endy Chavez and L.J. Hoes from Triple-A Norfolk. .... Tampa Bay's Desmond Jennings missed his third straight game with tightness in his lower back.