The Tampa Bay Rays held the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to just four hits, while receiving just enough offense to pull out a 2-0 win on Sunday.
Jeremy Hellickson pitched six clean innings, allowing just two hits while walking none and striking out five. The Rays bullpen then shut their opposition down, including another stellar outing from closer Fernando Rodney.
The game was scoreless for the first five innings until the Rays finally broke it open with a Matt Joyce RBI single. In the seventh, the Rays tacked on another run after Zach Greinke threw a wild pitch.
In his debut with his new team, Greinke went seven innings allowing the two runs on seven hits while striking out eight.
The Tampa Bay Rays (52-49) get the unfortunate task of welcoming Zack Greinke (9-3, 3.44 ERA) to his new digs in Los Angeles when they take on the Angels Sunday afternoon. Greinke, newly acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers, will be aiming for his 20th consecutive home win, with now three different ballclubs. Greinke is 2-4 with a 3.32 ERA in his career against Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay will answer with impressive youngster Jeremy Hellickson (5-6, 3.42 ERA). Though Hellickson is just 1-6 in his last 10 starts, he has allowed three runs or less in eight of those 10 starts, speaking to a larger offensive problem for the Tampa Bay ballclub. While Rays pitchers have posted a stellar 1.93 ERA in the past nine games, the Tampa Bay bats have averaged just 3.4 runs a game and batted .223 in that span.
The Tampa Bay Rays got just enough hitting. Tallying three runs on three hits over the first three innings, the Rays would grab the early lead to preserve a 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night in Anaheim.
Their early-inning scoring was highlighted by a solo homer from Ben Zobrist in the third.
The Rays, who snapped a two-game losing skid, got a solid start from Matt Moore, who tossed 103 pitches over six and one-third scoreless innings, striking out six to improve to 7-7 on the season. The Tampa Bay pitchers would limit the Halos to just five hits and just one extra base hit, a double from catcher Bobby Wilson.
Fernando Rodney would record the save, his 29th, retiring three straight batters in the ninth.
The rubber-match finale is scheduled for Sunday at 3:35 p.m. EST.
Methodically, the Tampa Bay Rays built their lead. They added one in the first, one in the second and one in the third, and now hold a 3-0 lead after seven innings in Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels.
The Rays' early scoring was capped off by a solo home run from designated hitter Ben Zobrist, a blast to deep center field, more than 400 feet.
Meanwhile, starting pitcher Matt Moore has kept the Halos' hitters at bay. Moore tossed six and one-third scoreless innings, striking out seven batters and allowing just four hits. He was replaced by Jake McGee in the seventh, who would strike out two to end the inning.
Tampa Bay dropped the series opener Friday night, 3-1.
Looking to bounce back from last night's 3-1 loss in the series opener, the Tampa Bay Rays are set to square off against the Los Angeles Angels, who are also currently amid the American League wild-card race.
Matt Moore (6-7, 4.23 ERA) will be on the hill for Tampa Bay, opposite the Halos' C.J. Wilson, who's posted nine wins in 21 starts in his first year with the club.
Here are tonight's starting lineups for the Rays:
Tonight's lineup vs LAA: Jennings LF, Upton CF, Zobrist DH, Keppinger 1B, Roberts 3B, Rodriguez SS, Joyce RF, Conrad 2B, Molina C, Moore P
Designated hitter Jeff Keppinger launched a solo home run to deep left field in the top of the second inning to give the Tampa Bay Rays an early one-run advantage. Since, though, the Rays are playing a bit of catch up and trail the Los Angeles Angels by a score of 3-1 in Anaheim.