Wednesday, August 20, 2008
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Aybar, Rays move to 5-0 at home against Angels

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[August 20, 2008]  ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Willy Aybar broke an eighth-inning tie with a two-run double, and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied past the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 Tuesday night for their ninth victory in 11 games.

The AL East leader overcame a strong pitching performance by Angels starter Ervin Santana, who took a no-hit bid into the sixth and left with a 2-1 lead after allowing one run and four hits in seven innings.

Los Angeles let the game slip away in the eighth when the Rays loaded the bases with no outs against Scot Shields (5-4) on a two walks and an error. Carlos Pena drew a one-out walk from Darren Oliver, forcing in the tying run before Aybar singled.

James Shields (11-7) allowed two runs and nine hits in eight innings, and Dan Wheeler pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh save in eight chances as Tampa Bay improved to 6-2 against the Angels, including 5-0 at home.

Vladimir Guerrero hit a solo homer in the second off James Shields, giving him six homers and 20 RBIs in his last 16 games. Garret Anderson made it 2-0 in the fourth with a RBI double that extended his hitting streak to 22 games.


Rays manager Joe Maddon was ejected in the sixth for arguing with first base umpire Jerry Meals after B.J. Upton beat out a RBI infield single. Upton was called out when Meals ruled he turned toward second and was tagged out by second baseman Howie Kendrick.

Replays showed Upton, who hit a high chopper to first baseman Mark Teixeira, contorted his body to avoid a potential tag by Santana, who was covering first. However, it did not appear Upton, in the spotlight lately for a lack of hustle, turned toward second before being tagged by Kendrick, who was backing up the play.

Maddon bolted from the dugout and had an animated discussion with Meals before being ejected. The manager also had an exchange with second base umpire and crew chief Gary Darling before leaving the field.

Upton apologized before the game for a "mental lapse" on the bases Monday night when he was thrown out at second base on what should have been a routine double, saying he didn't want to become a distraction for the Rays.

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The 23-year-old center fielder, benched him for two games and part of a third for not hustling in the past two weeks was booed in the late innings Monday, but drew cheers Tuesday when he threw out Torii Hunter trying to score from second base to save the Rays a run in the second inning.

Santana retired 11 in a row before walking Pena with two outs in the fourth. Jason Bartlett doubled down the left field line for the first hit off the Angels starter with one out in the sixth.

Akinori Iwamura and Upton followed with infield singles that cost Santana his shutout. All three runs the Rays scored in the eighth off Scot Shields were unearned.

Notes: Guerrero is 10-for-23 with two homers lifetime against James Shields. ... Angels INF Maicer Izturis had season-ending surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb. He's expected to be ready for the start of spring training. ... The Rays are two games into a stretch in which they 28 of 31 against teams in playoff contention, including six against the Red Sox.

[Associated Press; By FRED GOODALL]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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