The Angels lost their second straight and first of the series with the Rays to allow Tampa Bay to move just one game behind first in the AL East. Joe Saunders was roughed up for eight runs and failed to see his 10th win.
The Angels bats did heat up in the game, with four runs on 12 hits. They added one run in both the second and third innings off Gary Matthews Jr.’s RBI-single to score Vlad and Garret Anderson’s sacfly to score Jeff Mathis. Torii Hunter gave the Angels two more runs in the fourth with his 200th career homerun, a two-run shot to right center. Vlad ended up with 2 runs scored and went 4 for 4 on the night, tying a career-high record. Matthews Jr. also went 4 for 4. The Angels were up 4-3 after the fourth but couldn’t produce any more runs as they watched the Rays score 10 more to run away with the win.
Joe Saunders was roughed up for eight runs on nine hits through 4 2/3. Saunders allowed the Rays to jump out on top in the second with three consecutive no-out solo homeruns by Evan Longoria, Willy Aybar (Erick’s brother), and Dioner Navarro. This was the first time since 2000 that an Angels pitcher yielded consecutive homeruns. Saunders then held the Rays scoreless through the third and fourth innings, but a five-run fifth blew open the game and ended Saunders’ night. The Rays continued their 18-hit game with one off Jose Arrendondo, five hits and three runs off Darren O’Day, and two runs and three hits off Darren Oliver, including Longoria’s second homer of the night.
The Angels will send Jered Weaver to the mound in the second game of the series today. Weaver looks to even his record at .500 with a win, he has one win in one outing against the Rays. He will face James Shields, who is 4-4 with a 3.64 ERA. Shields’ last win was a complete-game shuout against the Angels on May 9.
The bullpen will also be with Chris Bootcheck, as he was placed on the 15-day DL. He gave up a walk-off granny to Mark Ellis in his last outing, but a strained right elbow will keep him out for a couple weeks. O’Day was called up yesterday to take his spot and pitched two innings.
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