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Markakis knocks in six as Orioles pound Rays' Hellickson

Jun 11, 2011 - 5:13 AM Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - Nick Markakis hit a grand slam and drove in a career-high six runs, powering the Orioles to a 7-0 victory over the Rays in a battle between streaking American League East teams.

Markakis' surge backed Jake Arrieta (8-3), who threw seven shutout innings. He allowed only two hits, walked three and struck out four to get the win, the Orioles' fourth in a row and sixth in their last eight games.

J.J. Hardy added a solo shot for Baltimore, which recorded the decisive victory against a Tampa Bay club that was coming off a sweep of the Angels in Anaheim.

Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson (7-4) carried a 2.64 earned run average into Friday's contest, and had won six of his last seven starts. But he allowed a season-high five runs and two homers in 5 2/3 innings.

"[Hellickson] wasn't sharp, but he got through it," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Overall, I like the way he fought through the whole night."

After rain delayed the start of the game for an hour, the Orioles got on the board in the first inning, when Hardy led off with a homer. Hellickson threw a fastball belt-high and slightly in, and Hardy slugged it over the left field fence.

It was his sixth home run of the season and fourth in his last eight games.

Baltimore took control in the next inning thanks to another blast. Hellickson walked Luke Scott to begin the frame before Mark Reynolds doubled. He retired the next two batters, but walked Hardy to load the bases.

Markakis then stepped up, and the battle was brief. Hellickson hung a first- pitch curveball over the plate, and Markakis ripped it over the wall in right field.

It was the third grand slam of Markakis' career and gave the Orioles a 5-0 lead.

Koji Uehara threw a scoreless eighth before Markakis hit a two-run double in the home half.

"I'm feeling better," Markakis said. "I'm just going to keep plugging away."

Mike Gonzalez loaded the bases in the ninth, but fanned pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez to preserve the shutout.

Game Notes

The Orioles are 6-4 against the Rays this season, but just 1-3 at home...Markakis hit his fifth homer of the season and first since May 15...Arrieta picked up a career-high eighth win. The last Orioles pitcher to record his eighth win as early as June 10 was Sidney Ponson on June 7, 2003.