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Faria shows off skill for friends, family at Big A

Rookie notches 7th quality start for Rays vs. hometown Halos
MLB.com @wwchastain

ANAHEIM -- Approximately 200 family members and friends showed up Friday night to watch Jacob Faria start in the Rays' 2-1 win over the Angels in 10 innings at Angel Stadium.

"It was weird at first," said Faria, who grew up five minutes from the Big A. "I tried to make it feel like it was any other game, but then being out there in the outfield, stretching and running, just looking up, it was pretty awesome."

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ANAHEIM -- Approximately 200 family members and friends showed up Friday night to watch Jacob Faria start in the Rays' 2-1 win over the Angels in 10 innings at Angel Stadium.

"It was weird at first," said Faria, who grew up five minutes from the Big A. "I tried to make it feel like it was any other game, but then being out there in the outfield, stretching and running, just looking up, it was pretty awesome."

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In his childhood dreams, Faria probably would have been wearing an Angels uniform during his first appearance at the ballpark where he attended games as a youngster, watching the likes of Jered Weaver and other Angels standouts play for his favorite team.

Instead, the Rays right-hander wore the jersey of the opposing team with No. 34 on the back, and he proceeded to make the Angels wish the hometown boy who was born in nearby La Palma, Calif., was just that.

The Rays selected Faria out of Gahr High in the 10th round of the 2011 Draft. Friday night he made his seventh Major League start and notched his seventh quality start, holding the the Angels to one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings to earn a no-decision.

"I didn't think Jake was as sharp as we've seen him," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "But we're probably nitpicking when you're talking about 6 2/3, one-run and saying he wasn't as sharp. It looked like the command was a little bit of an issue for him.

"[Pitching coach Jim Hickey] made the point, [Faria] was probably trying to do a little too much early in the game, especially with some of his offspeed pitches. A lot of them were in the dirt. But give Jake Faria a lot of credit for making an adjustment and being able to overcome, maybe, not feeling his best."

After scuffling in the early innings, but getting dinged up only by Albert Pujols' solo home run in the second, Faria went 1-2-3 in the fifth and sixth innings.

"I think it was just a matter of mindset," Faria said. "...When the innings were going quicker, I was just making pitches earlier in the at-bat. Being able to put guys away quicker."

Faria lowered his ERA to 2.00, while impressing his teammates and his manager with his calm in front of his hometown crowd.

"Faria, he's been like that pretty much every start," second baseman Brad Miller said. "As consistent as possible. Got a bunch of people here. A lot of eyes on him, and he made a lot of big pitches. Not fazed. Settled down after the homer and put up some zeroes."

Faria "continues to impress," Cash said. "For a young guy who has [seven] starts in the big leagues. His presence on the mound and the way he carries himself seems more like a veteran that's been out there a lot more than he has.

"...We talked [about pitching in his hometown] on the plane coming out here. He just has that real mild-mannered personality, and I don't think it affected him at all. But he definitely had a nice cheering section. When he walked off the mound, it sounded like we were at a Rays game."

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays, Jacob Faria