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Price falters as Rays drop series to Angels

The Rays fall to the Angels 6-2 as Pujols homers twice

Stephen Dunn

The Tampa Bay Rays fell to the Los Angeles Angels 6-2 on Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. David Price was tagged with the loss while career minor league Matt Shoemaker got credit for the win. Shoemaker was sharp, pitching six innings of one run baseball and keeping the Rays off balance all afternoon.

The Rays started the game with a rally during the top of the first inning. Wil Myers walked with one out and moved to third on a Matt Joyce single, giving the Rays runners on the corners with only one out with Evan Longoria at the plate. However, both Longoria and James Loney hit fly balls to right, with Longoria's not even deep enough to score Myers from third.

Trouble for David Price started in the bottom of the first inning after he struck out Collin Cowgill and Mike Trout looking in a fashion similar to his last start against the Mariners. This, however, was the high point of his start. Price got ahead of Albert Pujols 0-2 before Pujols smacked a home run over Kevin Kiermaier's head in center, giving the Angels a 1-0 lead.

After the Rays went quietly in the top of the second, Kiermaier made an excellent defensive play in the bottom of the second on a ball hit hard by Erick Aybar. Kiermaier caught the ball with his body against the wall, robbing Aybar of an extra base hit.

The Rays put two aboard in the top of the third inning but were again unable to convert the base runners into runs. David DeJesus hit a one out fly ball that turned into a double that should have been an out. DeJesus skied a ball into the air that the Angels' fielders lost in the sun. By the time the ball fell, DeJesus managed to get into second for a double. After a Myers groundout, Joyce walked, giving the Rays men on second and third with Longoria at the plate once again. However, as before, Longoria left two men on by striking out, ending the inning.

The Angels would add a run in the bottom of the third with a two run rally. Price began the inning by getting two outs on six pitches before giving up three consecutive singles to Trout, Pujols and Howie Kendrick, the last of which scored Trout from third base. Price would get CJ Cron to fly out to right to prevent any further damage in the inning.

Price allowed three more runs in the bottom of the fourth, again allowing three straight hits and this time getting no help from his defense. Aybar, Chris Iannetta and Grant Green hit three consecutive singles with Grant's hit scoring Aybar after some confusion on the base paths. The ball looked as if it might have been caught by Joyce in left field but the ball fell just out of his reach and allowed Aybar to score. The Rays got the first out of the inning by fielding a sacrifice bunt from Luis Jimenez, moving the runners to second and third. Cowgill hit a ball to third that bounced out of Longoria's glove and into the outfield, allowing both Iannetta and Green to score with an error being charged the Longoria. Price would then go on to get outs from Trout and Pujols to end the inning.

Shoemaker would eventually set down ten Rays' hitters in a row from the final out of the third until the first batter of the seventh inning, needing 89 pitches to go six plus innings. He effectively used a splitter to keep the Rays off balance and strike out six batters. He was replaced by Mike Morin in the seventh after issuing a leadoff walk to Loney. Kiermaier, the lone bright spot for the Rays this afternoon, hit his first career homerun to opposite field to make the score 5-2 in favor of the Angels.

Any hope generated by the Kiermaier homerun was quickly squashed in the bottom of the sixth inning when Pujols hit his second homerun of the afternoon, pushing the Angels' lead to 6-2. Brad Boxberger relieved Price after an Efren Navarro double and 119 pitches from Price.

DeJesus singled to leadoff the top of the eighth off of Joe Smith and Loney hit a leadoff single off Ernesto Frieri in the ninth inning but there was no rally to follow either leadoff single.


-Twice during the game (Wil Myers in the first, Jose Molina in the third), Rays hitters asked for time but it was not granted. Molina hustled to get back into the box when he realized that time had not been granted.

-During the same at-bat as the time out confusion, Molina launched his bat into the stands on a ball that he hit foul. It seemed to be his best Kelly Shoppach impression.

-The Rays have a day off Monday before returning to action on Tuesday at The Trop against the streaking Oakland Athletics. Jake Odorizzi, coming off of two excellent starts, will be opposed by Drew Pomeranz, owner of a 1.14 ERA in 23.2 innings pitched so far this season.