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Tampa Bay (61-53)0002110105121
L.A. Angels (68-44) «00110350x10121

Matthews, Kendrick help Angels finish sweep of Rays

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Gary Matthews Jr. and Howie Kendrick both hit three-run homers in the Angels' latest comeback victory. By next week, both might be back on Los Angeles' bench.

Such is the prodigious offensive depth of the AL West leaders, who keep finding big hits in the most improbable places.

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Matthews put the Angels ahead in the sixth, Kendrick added another homer in the seventh, and Los Angeles finished a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays with a 10-5 victory Wednesday.

"The depth on this team has always been the key," Matthews said. "You're going to have injuries, but the biggest difference with us is that we can plug in guys who can play for a week or two weeks."

Matthews' playing time seems likely to decrease if injured outfielder Torii Hunter returns to the Angels as planned this weekend, but the veteran outfielder is batting .327 over the past 16 games. Kendrick has filled in capably at second base, raising his batting average 42 points in 5½ weeks since his midseason demotion to the minors.

And they're both comfortable essentially being spare parts in the Angels' offense, which scored 24 runs against the Rays to remain neck-and-neck with the Yankees for the majors' scoring lead.

"We have guys who have been All-Stars who aren't starting here," Matthews said. "When you're trying to win a championship, you need players like that."

Chone Figgins had three hits and scored the first run in a five-run seventh for the Angels, who improved to a season-best 24 games over .500 while knocking off the defending AL champion Rays, who have won only six times in their past 40 games at Angel Stadium.

Carlos Pena hit two home runs for the Rays, who lost five times on their six-game West Coast trip. Pat Burrell added an eighth-inning shot as Tampa Bay was swept for the third time this season.

The Rays are 18 games above .500 at Tropicana Field and 10 games below .500 away from the Bay.

"We have to play better on the road," said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon, whose club opens a nine-game homestand Friday against Toronto. "We go home and we get ourselves well, then we go away and we get sick again. We've got to figure that out."

Matthews' homer off reliever Grant Balfour (4-2) turned a deficit into a one-run lead, and the Angels piled on the next inning.

After Kendry Morales and Tampa Bay reliever Randy Choate faced off in a 12-pitch at-bat with the bases loaded, Morales finally drove in a run with a grounder to shortstop, where Jason Bartlett's errant throw allowed a second run to score.

"It was a terrible play," Bartlett said. "I think it was just a matter of me trying to make too perfect of a throw trying to get him."

One batter later, Kendrick's first home run of the month landed in the Angels' bullpen.

Jason Bulger (5-1) earned the win by escaping a sixth-inning jam.

Trevor Bell gave up nine hits and four runs over 5 1/3 innings in his major league debut for the Angels, and fellow rookie starter Jeff Niemann gave up seven hits and four runs in his shortest start since July 4.

After Pena's 30th home run drove in the Rays' first two runs in the fourth, Los Angeles tied it when Carl Crawford and Bartlett both lost Mike Napoli's popup in the sun, allowing Morales to score from first base when it dropped.

Pena put a solo shot deep into the center field stands leading off the sixth, but after Niemann gave up two singles in the inning, Matthews connected for his third homer of the season.

"I didn't think it was that bad of a pitch, but I definitely didn't bury it where I needed to," Balfour said. "It was a tough series and a tough road trip for us, but we've got to keep on playing. We've still got another 40-something games to play, and we've got to play them all hard."

Bell, a North Hollywood native and the Angels' first-round pick in 2005, came up from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill injured Joe Saunders' rotation spot.

"I've heard you make small mistakes [in the big leagues] and they capitalize on them, and they definitely did that," Bell said. "But just talking to the veteran guys, they said the game is no different up here. Just more people and better speakers."

Notes

  • Angels OF Bobby Abreu, the AL Player of the Month for July, went 0 for 5 to wrap up a 2-for-22 homestand.
  • Bell is the fifth rookie pitcher to start for the Angels this season.
  • Pena had the 15th multihomer game of his career.
  • Balfour had given up only two home runs in his first 52 2/3 innings this season.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Welcome home: Howie Kendrick (right) is greeted following this three-run blast in the seventh.  (AP)
Welcome home: Howie Kendrick (right) is greeted following this three-run blast in the seventh. (AP)

Players of the Game
Anaheim

H. Kendrick
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Tampa Bay

C. Pena
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 3
 

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Tampa Bay Rays
Jason Bartlett, SS5140000 .343
Carl Crawford, LF4010114 .312
Evan Longoria, 3B4121101 .277
Ben Zobrist, 2B4000025 .286
Carlos Pena, 1B4223002 .216
Pat Burrell, DH4111010 .222
Gabe Gross, RF4020000 .263
Dioner Navarro, C3000111 .219
Gabe Kapler, CF4000032 .238
Totals36512538  
Batting
2B - Jason Bartlett (24, Bulger), Gabe Gross (14, Bell)
HR - Carlos Pena 2 (31, Bell, Bell), Pat Burrell (10, Arredondo)
RBI - Evan Longoria (85), Carlos Pena 3 (77), Pat Burrell (43)
2-OUT RBI - Evan Longoria (30)
SB - Evan Longoria (5, 2nd base off Bell/Napoli)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Jason Bartlett (12, Throwing)
Tampa Bay Rays
Jeff Niemann 5.1744340 3.86
Grant Balfour (BS,2; L,4-2) 0.2111001 4.58
Randy Choate 0.1344100 3.92
Dan Wheeler 0.2111001 3.64
Jeff Bennett 1000100 3.76
IBB - Guerrero by Randy Choate
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Niemann 101-61, Grant Balfour 15-8, Randy Choate 30-19, Dan Wheeler 11-7, Jeff Bennett 14-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Niemann 5-5, Grant Balfour 1-1, Randy Choate 1-0, Dan Wheeler 1-1, Jeff Bennett 2-1
Batters Faced - Jeff Niemann 24, Grant Balfour 3, Randy Choate 5, Dan Wheeler 3, Jeff Bennett 4
Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B5131000 .303
Erick Aybar, SS4120111 .310
Bobby Abreu, RF5000001 .309
Vladimir Guerrero, DH3000110 .299
Kendry Morales, 1B3321110 .303
Mike Napoli, C4221010 .297
Howie Kendrick, 2B3223102 .273
Gary Matthews Jr., CF3113100 .249
Reggie Willits, LF4000004 .206
Totals341012954  
Batting
3B - Mike Napoli (1, Niemann)
HR - Howie Kendrick (7, Wheeler), Gary Matthews Jr. (3, Balfour)
RBI - Chone Figgins (39), Kendry Morales (76), Mike Napoli (44), Howie Kendrick 3 (41), Gary Matthews Jr. 3 (38)
2-OUT RBI - Chone Figgins (15), Mike Napoli (9), Howie Kendrick 3 (19), Gary Matthews Jr. 3 (28)
SB - Chone Figgins (34, 2nd base off Niemann/Navarro), Howie Kendrick (9, 2nd base off Niemann/Navarro)
CS - Erick Aybar (5, 2nd base by Niemann/Navarro)
PK - Chone Figgins (5, Niemann)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Figgins-Kendrick-Morales, Figgins-Morales, Jepsen-Aybar-Morales
E - Gary Matthews Jr. (3, Misplayed grounder)
Los Angeles Angels
Trevor Bell 5.1944142 6.75
Jason Bulger (W,5-1) 0.2100100 3.68
Darren Oliver (H,13) 1000120 3.04
Jose Arredondo 1111021 5.67
Kevin Jepsen 1100000 5.87
IBB - Longoria by Darren Oliver
Pitches-Strikes - Trevor Bell 75-52, Jason Bulger 10-3, Darren Oliver 18-9, Jose Arredondo 20-15, Kevin Jepsen 13-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Trevor Bell 7-4, Jason Bulger 1-0, Jose Arredondo 1-0, Kevin Jepsen 1-1
Batters Faced - Trevor Bell 25, Jason Bulger 3, Darren Oliver 4, Jose Arredondo 4, Kevin Jepsen 3
Game Information
Attendance - 37859
Game Time - 3:14
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Mike Reilly, First Base - Chuck Meriwether, Second Base - Laz Diaz, Third Base - Eric Cooper