Cobb backed by Longo, Souza HRs in win

Cobb backed by Longo, Souza HRs in win

ST. PETERSBURG -- Homers and a healthy dose of Alex Cobb led the Rays to a 5-1 win over the Orioles on Wednesday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

The Rays are one game back of the Royals for the second American League Wild Card spot, and they remain 1 1/2 games back of the top Wild Card spot, held by the Yankees, with whom the Rays begin a four-game series on Thursday.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg and covered the Orioles on Wednesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Longoria's bat heating up in middle of lineup

Rays third baseman goes 3-for-4 in win over Orioles on Wednesday

Longoria's bat heating up in middle of lineup

ST. PETERSBURG -- In the midst of the Rays' recent slump, something good has been cooking at the plate for Evan Longoria.

The veteran slugger's bat is heating up, and Wednesday afternoon's 5-1 win against the Orioles validated that fact with a two-run home run and a 3-for-4 game.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Odorizzi to DL with lower-back strain

Right-hander Kittredge called up from Triple-A Durham

Odorizzi to DL with lower-back strain

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays have placed Jake Odorizzi on the 10-day disabled list with a lower-back strain.

Right-hander Andrew Kittredge has been recalled from Triple-A Durham to take Odorizzi's spot on the 25-man roster. The Rays have not announced who will take his spot in the rotation during his absence. Odorizzi was scheduled to start Friday in New York against the Yankees.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Archer starts AL East showdown vs. Yankees

Archer starts AL East showdown vs. Yankees

An important American League East series gets underway Thursday at Yankee Stadium, when Chris Archer and the Rays take on CC Sabathia and the Yankees in the opener of a four-game set.

After both the Yankees and Rays won on Wednesday afternoon, the Yankees held a one-game lead over the Royals for the top American League Wild Card spot. The Rays are a game back of Kansas City for the second spot.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kiermaier set to start rehab on Thursday

Rays center fielder has been out since June 9 with a hip fracture

Kiermaier set to start rehab on Thursday

ST. PETERSBURG -- Kevin Kiermaier is scheduled to begin his rehab assignment for Class A Advanced Charlotte of the Florida State League on Thursday.

The Rays announced after Wednesday's 5-1 win over the Orioles that the Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder would be playing the field for the Stone Crabs, as would rehabbing infielder Daniel Robertson.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Beckham's jack in 5-run frame powers Rays

Beckham's jack in 5-run frame powers Rays

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rookie Jacob Faria's eighth quality start and Tim Beckham's three-run homer helped the Rays snap a five-game losing streak with a 5-4 win over the Orioles on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.

"Obviously we needed a win," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "That was a good one. Maybe there's something to be said for winning a game like that, tight, that can get you on a roll more than a 5-0 win. We'll take them however we can get them."

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg and covered the Orioles on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Honeywell among 7 Rays on Top 100 list

Right-hander checks in at No. 14, top Draft pick McKay 23rd

Honeywell among 7 Rays on Top 100 list

ST. PETERSBURG -- MLBPipeline.com announced its Top 100 Prospects list for the 2017 midseason, and the Rays had seven prospects on the list.

In addition, the Rays ranked third in prospect points behind the Braves (527) and White Sox (527) with 296.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Faria's strong outing helps Rays snap skid

Rookie logs season-high 7 1/3 frames vs. O's for 5th win

Faria's strong outing helps Rays snap skid

ST. PETERSBURG -- Jacob Faria can't be a rookie, right?

On Tuesday night, the right-hander took the mound in the midst of the Rays' five-game skid. He then went out and pounded the strike zone for 7 1/3 innings to aid a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ramos struck with broken bat, gets 6 staples

Ramos struck with broken bat, gets 6 staples

ST. PETERSBURG -- A freak play cost the Rays the services of catcher Wilson Ramos during Monday night's game.

Ramos had to leave the Rays' 5-0 loss to the Orioles after getting struck on his catching helmet with Ruben Tejada's broken bat in the fifth inning. Ramos didn't start in Tuesday night's 5-4 win because of the laceration he sustained, but he did ground out to end the eighth inning after entering as a pinch-hitter for Brad Miller.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays add Romo to roster, release Weeks

Rays add Romo to roster, release Weeks

ST. PETERSBURG -- Sergio Romo was acquired Saturday night from the Dodgers for cash considerations. The Rays added the right-hander to the active roster on Monday, prompting a couple of roster moves.

The team optioned right-hander Andrew Kittredge to Triple-A Durham. In addition, the Rays activated and released first baseman Rickie Weeks Jr., who had been on the 10-day DL since June 9 (retroactive to June 7) with a right shoulder impingement. Romo will take Weeks' spot on the 40-man roster.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Snell's gem spoiled as Rays' slump reaches 5

Snell's gem spoiled as Rays' slump reaches 5

ST. PETERSBURG -- If the Orioles are going to continue to march up the standings in the American League East and Wild Card races, they'll need to do exactly what they did on Monday. A strong start from Kevin Gausman, a big night from Adam Jones, and most spectacularly, some highlight-reel defense from Manny Machado propelled Baltimore to a 5-0 win against the reeling Rays at Tropicana Field.

With the game scoreless in the bottom of the first, Evan Longoria hit a ball down the third-base line. Machado ranged to his right to field the ball, making a tremendous throw while falling in the opposite direction. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop made the difficult turn at second and threw out Longoria to end the inning.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2004.

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg who covered the Orioles on Monday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cespedes Family BBQ discusses RP market

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Cespedes Family BBQ discusses RP market

If there's one theme that ties all Trade Deadline seasons together, it's the annual game of reliever musical chairs, in which contending teams try to bolster their bullpens with the best arms made available by teams near the bottom of the standings.

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De Leon throws well in rehab outing

De Leon throws well in rehab outing

In many ways, Monday belonged to Ronald Acuna.

Acuna made the largest jump of any player in MLB Pipeline's freshly revamped Top 100 Prospects list, going from No. 86 all the way up to No. 8, as well as from No. 7 to No. 1 on the Braves' new Top 30 list.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Longoria, Rays shift focus after tough loss

Longoria, Rays shift focus after tough loss

ST. PETERSBURG -- Talk about a mood killer. After a 4-2 West Coast road trip, the Rays returned home riding a high.

Then the Rangers arrived and took three wins the Rays felt they should have won, including Sunday's come-from-behind 6-5 win that earned them a sweep of the series.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen squanders lead as Rays fall in finale

Bullpen squanders lead as Rays fall in finale

ST. PETERSBURG -- Back-to-back home runs from Rougned Odor, his second of the day, and Carlos Gomez helped the Rangers erase a three-run deficit to take a 6-5 come-from-behind win over the Rays on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

The Rays got a rally going in the ninth when they had runners on first and second with two outs and Steven Souza Jr. hitting. But Jose Leclerc struck him out to end the threat, and the game.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg and covered the Rangers on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays excited about acquisition of Romo

Rays excited about acquisition of Romo

ST. PETERSBURG -- New Rays acquisition Sergio Romo is expected to arrive prior to Monday's game against the Orioles, but there's already curiosity and excitement about what they might get from the right-hander.

The Rays acquired Romo, 34, from the Dodgers in exchange for cash considerations on Saturday night. He signed with the Dodgers as a free agent on Feb. 15 and appeared in 30 games for them, going 1-1 with a 6.12 ERA and 31 strikeouts. The Dodgers designated Romo for assignment on Thursday.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sucre lost his helmet on a bunt attempt

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Sucre lost his helmet on a bunt attempt

As its name implies, the sacrifice bunt comes at a cost. In order to advance other runners, the batter must give something up. In most cases, that sacrifice comes in the form of an out at first base.

During the fourth inning of Sunday afternoon's game against the Rangers, Rays catcher Jesus Sucre showed off his interpretation of a sacrifice bunt as his attempt led to the loss of his helmet:

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Archer (11 K's) takes hard-luck loss

Archer (11 K's) takes hard-luck loss

ST. PETERSBURG -- Chris Archer deserved better Saturday night. The Rays right-hander allowed one earned run in seven innings, notched his fifth consecutive quality start, and set a Rays record with his 24th career double-digit-strikeout performance.

But he took the loss in the Rangers' 4-3 win at Tropicana Field.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mallex's misplay spoils Archer's gem in loss

Mallex's misplay spoils Archer's gem in loss

ST. PETERSBURG -- After five innings Saturday night, the Rays appeared to be in grand shape to even their weekend series against the Rangers. Then came the nightmare inning that led to a 4-3 Texas win at Tropicana Field.

The Rangers (47-50) won their second consecutive game, while the Rays (51-47) lost their third consecutive game.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg who covered the Rangers on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

After return, Cedeno could be key 'pen piece

After return, Cedeno could be key 'pen piece

ST. PETERSBURG -- Xavier Cedeno could prove to be the X-factor for the Rays' bullpen going down the stretch.

With the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline looming, speculation about whom the Rays might try to acquire to bolster the roster usually lands on bullpen pieces.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays host PLAY campaign event at the Trop

Kiermaier, Duffy and former pitcher Johnson interact with kids, promote inclusion

Rays host PLAY campaign event at the Trop

ST. PETERSBURG -- The National PLAY Campaign made a stop at Tropicana Field on Saturday morning, with current Rays players Kevin Kiermaier and Matt Duffy and former Major League pitcher Jason Johnson encouraging kids to be active in order to live a healthy lifestyle.

Johnson, Tavis Piattoly from the Taylor Hooton Foundation (which warns youth about the dangers of steroids) and Rays trainers spoke to the group before the kids took the field to learn proper stretching and warmup exercises. Kiermaier and Duffy joined later to talk about their childhood activities and answer questions.

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Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Honeywell featured in duel of the day

Honeywell featured in duel of the day

Here's a look at top prospects to watch in today's Minor League action:

Hitter to watch: Raudy Read (Nationals' No. 17), Harrisburg vs. Binghamton (1:30 p.m. ET on MiLB.TV)

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lowe has four hits, swipes two for Hot Rods

Lowe has four hits, swipes two for Hot Rods

The Braves' farm system is loaded with talented young arms, and that was easily apparent on Saturday as Luiz Gohara and Lucas Sims led Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett to wins with dominating performances on the mound.

The duo combined for 20 strikeouts over 13 scoreless frames as Mississippi topped Blioxi, 8-0, and Gwinnett held off Indianapolis, 2-1. Whats more, these impressive outings come just a day after Braves No. 11 prospect Touki Toussaint struck out 11 with Class A Advanced Florida

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William Boor is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter at @wboor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cobb deals into 9th, but done in by one mistake

Cobb deals into 9th, but done in by one mistake

ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Cobb looked primed to notch his fourth career complete game Friday night.

But unfortunately for the Rays, the decision by Rays manager Kevin Cash to leave him in for the ninth backfired, as Cobb allowed the game-tying homer before the Rangers went on to a 4-3 win in extras in the opening game of a weekend series at Tropicana Field.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rays hit 3 HRs, but fall in extras to Texas

Rays hit 3 HRs, but fall in extras to Texas

ST. PETERSBURG -- Elvis Andrus is the bull that sees red whenever he plays against the Rays. Friday night, his RBI single in the 10th gave the Rangers a 4-3 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.

The Rays (51-46) have now lost two in a row while the Rangers (46-50) snapped a season-high five-game losing streak.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg who covered the Rangers on Friday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Yarbrough fans 13 in gem for Durham

Yarbrough fans 13 in gem for Durham

It's not a secret that when Touki Toussaint is right he can miss bats with the best of them.

That was the case on Friday, as the Braves' No. 11 prospect matched his career highs with 11 strikeouts in eight innings as he recorded his second straight double-digit strikeout performance for Class A Advanced Florida.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Inbox: Do the Rays have postseason magic?

Beat reporter Bill Chastain answers questions from fans

Inbox: Do the Rays have postseason magic?

We're past the halfway point of the season, and the Rays are still in this thing. I'm starting to get excited about this team going to the postseason. Please tell me this isn't some kind of mirage.
-- Michael S., Clearwater, Fla.

You're asking me if the Rays have a chance to make the postseason, and I'd say they have an excellent chance. The way this team thinks is more like, "Let's go out and win the division" rather than, "Let's hope we can make the playoffs." I'm impressed with the chemistry in the clubhouse, and the team has overcome a lot of obstacles along the way. So in theory, their best should be in front of them.

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Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Faria struggles, Rays fall in Oakland finale

Faria struggles, Rays fall in Oakland finale

OAKLAND -- The A's knocked around Rays rookie starter Jacob Faria in a four-run fifth inning and got another quality start from Sonny Gray to avoid a sweep with a 7-2 win Wednesday afternoon at the Coliseum.

With two on and one out in the fifth, Rajai Davis hit an opposite-field ground-rule double and moved to third on a Matt Joyce sacrifice fly. Davis then scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch with Marcus Semien at the plate, who singled and scored on a Yonder Alonso single.

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Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99.

Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the A's on Wednesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cash makes changes to top of Rays' lineup

Cash makes changes to top of Rays' lineup

OAKLAND -- The Rays opened Wednesday's 7-2 loss with a new batting order, and manager Kevin Cash says it'll be the club's preferred lineup going forward, health permitting.

Before the game against the A's at the Coliseum, Cash said the Rays will use the same top five in the lineup for the majority of games: Steven Souza Jr., Corey Dickerson, Evan Longoria, Logan Morrison and Wilson Ramos.

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Alex Simon is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter at @alexsimon99. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.