ANAHEIM, Calif. – Matt Moore outpitched C.J. Wilson, scattering four hits over 6 1-3 innings, and Ben Zobrist homered to lead the Tampa Bay Rays past the Los Angeles Angels 3-0 Saturday night.
Moore (7-7) struck out six to increase his season total to 112, second-most among rookies behind Texas' Yu Darvish. The 23-year-old lefty pitched a career-high eight innings in his previous start and retired his final 17 batters in a 2-1 loss to Seattle last Sunday. He is 6-2 with a 3.32 ERA in his last 10 outings.
Fernando Rodney worked a perfect ninth for his 29th save in 30 attempts, dropping his ERA to 0.79 in 46 appearances. The 10-year veteran, who struggled quite a bit during two seasons with the Angels before signing a one-year, $2 million contract with Tampa Bay in January, pitched at the "Big A" for the first time since Sept. 2, 2011, when he failed to retire any of his five batters and allowed four runs against Minnesota.
Wilson (9-7) threw 121 pitches in 6 2-3 innings, allowing three runs — two earned — and four hits. He struck out seven and walked three. The All-Star lefty is 0-3 with a 4.23 ERA over his last six starts after going 5-0 with a 1.30 ERA in his previous seven. It was Wilson's fourth start since blister problems prevented him from pitching in the All-Star game.
The Angels squandered a chance to reduce Texas' four-game lead over them in the AL West race and fell into third place — a half-game behind the surging Oakland Athletics, who have won 18 of 21. Zack Greinke, acquired by Los Angeles in a trade with Milwaukee on Friday, will make his debut with his new club in Sunday's series finale against Jeremy Hellickson.
The Rays scored a run in each of the first three innings. Desmond Jennings opened the game with a double, B.J. Upton reached on a bunt single for his first hit in 15 career at-bats against Wilson to that point, and Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly.
The Rays made it 2-0 in the second without the benefit of a hit. Former Angels prospect Sean Rodriguez drew a leadoff walk, stole second and took an extra base on catcher Bobby Wilson's throwing error. Maicer Izturis, who will be getting some extra playing time at shortstop for the Angels while Gold Glove winner Erick Aybar is on the disabled list with a broken toe, dropped a simple popup by Matt Joyce as Rodriguez crossed the plate.
Zobrist, who came in 4 for 19 against Wilson, drove a 3-2 pitch into the center-field trees with two outs in the third for his 12th homer and first in 17 games since July 6.
Moore barely escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth after Angels No. 9 hitter Bobby Wilson doubled with one out and Mike Trout reached on a fielding error by third baseman Ryan Roberts — ending Tampa Bay's season-best six-game errorless streak.
A walk to Torii Hunter loaded the bases for Albert Pujols, who popped out. Then a 1-0 pitch to Mark Trumbo broke off the glove of former Angels catcher Jose Molina, who hustled after it and threw to Moore for a sweep tag on Wilson as he slid in headfirst. TV replays showed that Moore's glove dusted the plate and missed Moore, leading to a brief argument from manager Mike Scioscia.
The Angels also mounted a threat in the fourth after Moore hit Pujols with a 1-2 pitch and Trumbo singled. But Howie Kendrick struck out, Alberto Callaspo lined out to left field and Vernon Wells hit a fielder's choice grounder to third. Wells played his first game since May 20, when he tore a ligament in his right thumb while stealing second base at San Diego and had to undergo surgery.
NOTES: Angels C Chris Iannetta, sidelined since May 9 because of a broken right wrist, was reinstated from the disabled list. C John Hester and LHP Hisanori Takahashi were optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake, the latter in order to clear a spot for Greinke on the 25-man roster. ... The Rays' 77 errors already have eclipsed last season's total by four. ... Roberts is one of eight players who have patrolled 3B for Tampa Bay since Evan Longoria went on the disabled list 78 games ago. They are 37-41 during his absence. ... Tampa Bay lost 13 of its first 14 games at Anaheim after Joe Maddon left his job as Scioscia's bench coach to become Rays manager. Since then, they have won eight of 11 at the "Big A."