ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Yunel Escobar homered off Jered Weaver, and James Loney and Evan Longoria had RBI singles to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
Chris Archer (3-2) allowed two hits over 5 2-3 innings and won for the first time in his last five starts, striking out five and walking five. The right-hander came in with a 6.97 ERA since his 16-1 victory over the Yankees on April 19 at St. Petersburg.
Jake McGee, who has stranded all 13 baserunners he’s inherited, started the seventh inning fresh after Juan Carlos Oviedo got the last out in the sixth. McGee gave up a single by Erick Aybar and a walk to Mike Trout, his third of the game. But Albert Pujols, who stranded six runners on the night, flied out to right field.
Joel Peralta pitched a scoreless eighth and Grant Balfour pitched a perfect ninth for his eighth save.
Weaver (4-3) allowed two runs and three hits over seven innings with five strikeouts and three walks. The Angels’ ace was 4-0 with a 1.71 ERA in his previous five starts, including a 9-3 decision last Sunday in which he asked to be taken out of a game for the first time in his nine-year career because of a problem with his command – after throwing 102 pitches in 6 1-3 innings and getting staked to a 7-1 lead.
Archer matched zeroes with the three-time All-Star through the first four innings, and each team had one hit – the Angels a two-out single by Pujols in the first, and the Rays a one-out single by Escobar in the third. Efren Navarro’s two-out single in the sixth was the only other hit Archer allowed.
Escobar, who came in with four hits in eight career at-bats against Weaver, opened the scoring in the fifth when he drove an 0-2 pitch to left-center for his third homer of the season. It was only the third allowed by Weaver in seven starts since April 6 at Houston when the Astros went deep four times against him in 7-4 win.
Loney added a run-scoring single over the head of right fielder Collin Cowgill in the seventh for his team-leading 25th RBI, after Longoria drew a leadoff walk and got his first stolen base of the season – matching his total in 160 games last year.
The Rays tacked on another run in the eighth with two walks and Longoria’s RBI single against Michael Kohn, who had held opponents to just one unearned run in 17 1-3 innings over his previous 17 appearances.
Archer retired his first two batters in the fifth before walking John McDonald, Erick Aybar and Trout – whose walkoff three-run homer against Brad Boxberger in the ninth inning Thursday gave the Angels a 6-5 win. But Pujols grounded to third for a force on Aybar, making the two-time NL MVP 0 for 6 this season in bases-loaded situations and 3 for 22 since signing a 10-year, $240 million contract with the club in December 2011.
NOTES: Weaver intentionally walked Escobar in the seventh, the right-hander’s first intentional pass since Sept. 4, 2009, at Kansas City (Mark Teahen). … Tampa Bays’ last 12 shutout wins all have come on the road, including five this season. C Ryan Hanigan has caught 15 shutouts by the staff in 98 starts since catching Homer Bailey’s no-hitter with Cincinnati against Pittsburgh on Sept. 28, 2012. … Angels rookie INF Luis Jimenez beat David Price in the Halos’ 40th annual cow-milking contest…. Tampa Bay 2B Cole Figueroa, who was promoted from Triple-A Durham on Thursday when 2B Ben Zobrist went on the DL, made his major league debut as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. He popped out to shortstop against Mike Morin. … Angels OF Kole Calhoun (sprained right ankle) began a rehab assignment Friday night with Triple-A Salt Lake, and 3B David Freese is scheduled to join him Saturday. Freese hasn’t played since May 2 because of a non-displaced fracture in the middle finger on his right hand, after getting hit by a pitch from Texas’ Colby Lewis.