What we learned from O's-Rays clash for the top of the AL

AP Photo/Scott Audette

The Tampa Bay Rays started the season 13-0, 20-3 and 27-6 -- and it looked like they might run away with the American League East. Except, while the Rays were scorching the various bottom dwellers of the major leagues, the Baltimore Orioles were lurking with their own hot start. When the Rays were 27-6, the Orioles were 22-10.

The Rays' biggest lead in the division had been 6½ games, but they lost their first seven games of July and then got swept in Texas last week. That meant the Orioles came to town for four games in a virtual tie for first place -- the first time since Opening Day the Rays weren't in sole possession of first.

This felt like the first really big series of the season, so let's see what we learned as Baltimore took three of four to take a two-game lead over Tampa Bay atop the AL East.