ST. PETERSBURG -- Jefry Marte scored on a wild pitch to give the Angels a 3-2 win over the Rays on Monday night at Tropicana Field.
Marte raced home with two outs in the seventh when Ryne Stanek bounced the first pitch he threw to Jose Pujols, and the ball got past catcher Derek Norris to put a stamp on the Angels' third run.
The Angels are 6-2 in their last eight games, and the Rays have lost consecutive games following a four-game win streak.
"It seems like every game we're in, we fight hard," Angels left fielder Cameron Maybin said. "We fight until the game is over, and just try to keep the momentum going. We've been playing some good baseball lately, and it's a good way to start the series off here."
Andrelton Simmons' sacrifice fly in the first inning plated Maybin to put the Angels up 1-0. Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison answered for the Rays with solo home runs in the bottom half of the inning, giving each 12 homers on the season and putting the Rays up 2-1.
Maybin tied the game in the fifth with a solo shot off of Jake Odorizzi that hit the C-ring catwalk to tie the score at 2.
JC Ramirez held the Rays to two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings to pick up his fourth win of the season. Odorizzi came away with a no-decision after allowing two runs in six innings.
"Their guy Ramirez did a good job, especially after the first inning, settling down," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "It seems like we had some pretty good approaches against him, we just couldn't get anything rolling."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Wild pitches hurt Rays: Jumbo Diaz took over from Odorizzi to start the seventh and walked the leadoff batter, Marte. Diaz then uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Marte to move to second. One out later, Marte moved to third on Nolan Fontana's flyout to right. Diaz followed by walking Maybin, prompting the pitching change that brought Stanek into the game. Stanek intentionally walked Michael Trout before releasing the wild pitch that allowed Marte to score the winning run.
"I felt like I just overthrew it a little bit and just didn't execute the pitch the way I should have," Stanek said. "Just kind of got away. It's never something you want to see, but it's something I have to deal with ... short memory."
Maybin goes catwalk: With the Angels trailing, 2-1, and one out in the fifth, Maybin faced a full count and connected on a 92-mph four-seam fastball that hit the C-ring catwalk. Maybin appeared to know the rule, because he pointed at the ring and slowed between second and third before sliding. He then stood at third and then strolled home with his second homer of the season. According to Statcast™, the estimated 398-foot blast had a launch angle of 36 degrees with an exit velocity of 104.6 mph.
"When I hit it, it looked like it was going to hit the catwalk," Maybin said. "Then I thought I had a chance to maybe stay under the catwalk. But when I hit it, I definitely thought it was going to be way, way out. I was just hoping [the umpire] was going to call it a homer, because I don't hit very many. I was just hoping that they gave me the benefit of the doubt."
"We started off really hot; you know, the energy. And when you don't string together at-bats, it kind of gets you down. But there's always tomorrow. But we felt like something was going to happen."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Monday night's Rays loss marked the 18th time the Rays blew a lead in a loss, the most in the Major Leagues. The Rays have had a lead in 33 of their last 35 games, but are 17-18 in those games.
Since moving into the rotation, Ramirez has been most vulnerable in the first, when he's allowed 10 of his 20 runs as a starter. He has allowed first-inning runs in six of his eight starts this season, posting an 11.25 ERA in the opening frame, and a 2.18 ERA after that.
"He's tried a couple different things," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Seems like it takes him a while to work into his stuff. There are a number of pitchers that are like that. We'll keep trying to find a formula to help him adjust to get a little crisper early. But he settled in and pitched a good game."
Angels: Right-hander Matthew Shoemaker (3-2, 4.47 ERA) will take the mound for the Angels on Tuesday night as they continue their four-game set against the Rays at 4:10 p.m. PT at Tropicana Field. Shoemaker is 3-0 with a 2.60 ERA in three career starts against Tampa Bay.
Rays:Alex Cobb (4-3, 3.67) will get the nod when the Rays play the Angels in the 7:10 p.m. ET contest. Cobb won consecutive decisions for the first time since returning from Tommy John surgery. He hasn't won three straight decisions since June 29-Aug. 21, 2014, when he won a career-best seven straight.
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