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Tampa Bay at Los Angeles

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Tampa Bay (77-61) «010000200370
L.A. Angels (64-74)000000100171

Myers goes deep twice, helps lead Rays past Angels

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Wil Myers never stopped working diligently during his recent slump. Neither did the Tampa Bay Rays during their recent skid.

The rookie slugger and his teammates are both seeing rewards for their persistence heading into the final weeks of the playoff chase.

Myers hit two home runs off Jered Weaver, and the Rays kept pace in the AL wild-card race with a 3-1 victory against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

Myers had never faced Weaver, but he hit a home run on the first pitch he saw from the Angels' longtime ace in the second inning. He connected again in the seventh on Weaver's first pitch after a mound visit, driving a two-run shot into the Rays' bullpen behind left field.

"The only way to get through a slump is to keep hitting," said Myers, who batted only .209 in August after an impressive start to his major-league career. "You can't take days off. It's good to be able to help the team like that. Definitely a nice feeling."

Tampa Bay (77-61) stayed 2½ games ahead of the Yankees atop the wild-card standings and remained 5½ games behind first-place Boston in the AL East.

"We don't want just a wild card," Myers said. "We're still trying to win the division. It's nice to not be looking from the outside the wild card, but we still want more than that."

Myers is bouncing back from a rough stretch in August to stay in contention for the AL Rookie of the Year award alongside teammate Chris Archer, Texas' Martin Perez and Angels leadoff hitter J.B. Shuck. Myers, who didn't get called up to the majors until June 18, had his first multi-hit game in two weeks during Tampa Bay's victory on Tuesday night.

Weaver (9-8) yielded six hits over seven innings, but gave up two no-doubt shots to Myers, who hadn't hit a home run since Aug. 14.

"He's got some pop, obviously," Weaver said. "There's some holes there, but I didn't quite find those holes. Just two bad pitches ended up beating us, but I felt like I threw a good game for the most part. I threw up a quality start, which the only thing I could do. It's tough."

Myers' first home run off Weaver also produced his first RBI since Aug. 20. He finished with his second multi-homer game of the season, also doing it July 28 at Yankee Stadium.

"Those balls were crushed," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "That's nice to see. We could really use that right about now. This is a young man that's not overwhelmed. He's going to have some moments, but that's a Cy Young-caliber pitcher, and he handled it well."

Myers provided all the offense needed by Jeremy Hellickson (11-8), who pitched scoreless ball into the sixth inning of his first victory in nearly six weeks. Hellickson yielded four hits and two walks in his first start since spending a week in the minors to rediscover his form.

"Sitting at home for those 4-5 days and watching the guys in the dugout having fun, and I'm sitting on the couch by myself, it isn't too fun," said Hellickson, who never actually pitched in the minors.

The bullpen also was solid for the Rays, who won their second straight after a five-game skid. Fernando Rodney earned his 32nd save in the ninth while making his first appearance in a week for Tampa Bay, which has won two straight after a 1-8 skid.

Hellickson had allowed multiple runs in each of his previous six starts while going 0-5 with a 9.00 ERA, but he mostly avoided trouble from the Angels, who have lost two straight after winning nine of 10.

Chris Iannetta hit a pinch-hit homer in the seventh for Los Angeles, which has lost 11 of 13 at home.

"We've been playing some good baseball," Weaver said. "We had some opportunities tonight, but Hellickson made some good pitches and kept us off-balance."

Iannetta connected off Jake McGee to lead off the seventh, hitting his third career pinch-hit homer and his first since Sept. 29, 2009. The Angels catcher hadn't homered at home all season, hitting his other seven homers away from the Big A.

Josh Hamilton went 1 for 3 with a walk in his return to the Angels' lineup. The $125 million designated hitter is struggling with sinus congestion.

Notes

Iannetta hadn't hit a home run in Anaheim since Aug. 29, 2012. ... Los Angeles allowed multiple stolen bases for the 28th time this season. ... Maddon said nobody showed up at a Long Beach sports bar late Tuesday night to take advantage of his Twitter offer to buy a beer for anybody in Rays gear. Maddon blamed himself for sending out the offer far too late to find any fans. Still, 20-25 Rays players, coaches and personnel enjoyed the "Win or Weep" party until well after 1 a.m. Maddon, the former Angels coach, still has his home in the area.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Tampa Bay shortstop Yunel Escobar turns a double play in the fifth inning despite Grant Green's efforts to break it up.  (USATSI)
Tampa Bay shortstop Yunel Escobar turns a double play in the fifth inning despite Grant Green's efforts to break it up. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

W. Myers
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 2
RBI 3
Los Angeles

C. Iannetta
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
David DeJesus, LF4010002 .251
Ben Zobrist, 2B4010011 .275
Evan Longoria, 3B3010101 .266
Matt Joyce, RF4000004 .250
James Loney, 1B4000013 .303
Desmond Jennings, CF2100200 .249
Wil Myers, DH4233000 .291
Jose Molina, C4000022 .238
Yunel Escobar, SS4010001 .267
Totals3337334  
Batting
2B - Ben Zobrist (34, Jer. Weaver), Yunel Escobar (23, Jer. Weaver)
HR - Wil Myers 2 (11, Jer. Weaver)
RBI - Wil Myers 3 (42)
SB - David DeJesus (4, 2nd base off Jer. Weaver/Conger), Desmond Jennings (20, 2nd base off Jer. Weaver/Conger)
CS - Desmond Jennings (8, 3rd base by De La Rosa/Iannetta)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Hellickson-Escobar-Loney, Hellickson-Escobar-Loney-Escobar-Zobrist-Loney
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jeremy Hellickson (W,11-8) 5.1400240 5.04
Alex Torres (H,5) 0.2000000 1.29
Jake McGee (H,25) 1211001 4.19
Joel Peralta (H,35) 1100010 2.90
Fernando Rodney (S,32) 1000020 3.65
HBP - Calhoun (by Alex Torres)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hellickson 71-46, Alex Torres 12-9, Jake McGee 13-9, Joel Peralta 12-8, Fernando Rodney 12-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Hellickson 3-8, Alex Torres 2-0, Jake McGee 2-0
Batters Faced - Jeremy Hellickson 21, Alex Torres 3, Jake McGee 4, Joel Peralta 4, Fernando Rodney 3
Los Angeles (A.L.) Angels
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
J.B. Shuck, LF4000001 .290
Erick Aybar, SS4010000 .271
Mike Trout, CF3010120 .335
Josh Hamilton, DH3010113 .236
Kole Calhoun, RF3010001 .267
Mark Trumbo, 1B4000023 .233
Hank Conger, C2000002 .259
   a-Chris Iannetta, PH-C2111010 .212
Luis Jimenez, 3B4010002 .253
Grant Green, 2B3010011 .245
Totals3217127  
a-homered for Conger in the 7th
Batting
2B - Mike Trout (36, Hellickson)
HR - Chris Iannetta (8, McGee)
RBI - Chris Iannetta (32)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Trumbo-Aybar
E - Luis Jimenez (3, Throwing)
Los Angeles (A.L.) Angels
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jered Weaver (L,9-8) 7633132 3.33
Michael Kohn 1000100 3.35
Dane De La Rosa 1100110 3.27
Pitches-Strikes - Jered Weaver 95-61, Michael Kohn 15-9, Dane De La Rosa 19-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jered Weaver 7-11, Michael Kohn 1-2, Dane De La Rosa 1-0
Batters Faced - Jered Weaver 28, Michael Kohn 4, Dane De La Rosa 4
Game Information
Attendance - 34025
Game Time - 2:54
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Todd Tichenor, First Base - C.B. Bucknor, Second Base - Dale Scott, Third Base - Lance Barrett