St. Petersburg, FL – Erick Aybar provided the go-ahead score with a two-run double off Fernando Rodney in the ninth, capping a four-RBI performance and vaulting the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to a 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Aybar had cut the Angels' deficit to 5-4 with a two-run single in the seventh, then put them ahead in the ninth by shooting one into the gap in right center to score runners from second and third.
For Rodney (5-4), it was his eighth blown save of the season. He had walked leadoff man Grant Green, then was hurt by his center fielder Desmond Jennings, who misplaced his glove while charging a J.B. Shuck shallow fly ball.
"We've watched that game too many times this year. That's the kind of game we have to stop giving away," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We have to do a better job of holding leads."
Dane De La Rosa secured the victory for Ernesto Frieri (2-4), forcing Matt Joyce to ground into a 3-6 double play to end the game and allow Los Angeles to notch just its second win in its last 14 meetings with Tampa Bay.
Jose Molina went 3-for-4 and drove in three runs, while James Loney added two hits and knocked in a pair for Tampa Bay, which lost its third in a row to fall 2 1/2 games behind AL East-leading Boston.
Roberto Hernandez held the Angels in check over the first six innings, allowing just one mammoth solo homer to Mike Trout. However, he allowed two straight hits to start the seventh and was removed in favor of Jake McGee.
The Angels scored three with the reliever on the mound with Shuck's groundout and Aybar's two-run single, but McGee buckled down to keep the Rays ahead, striking out both Trout and Josh Hamilton to end the inning.
Joel Peralta struck out the side in the eighth to keep the difference, but Rodney was unable to follow suit.
Angels starter C.J. Wilson had managed to escape bases loaded jams in the second and fourth innings, but Tampa finally capitalized in the fifth thanks to Molina, and jumped ahead.
Molina had plated the game's first run in the second with a double, then came through with another two-bagger three innings later that split the gap in left center to score a pair and stake the Rays to a 3-1 lead.
Cory Rasmus replaced Wilson to start the sixth and Tampa Bay loaded the bags again on a Ben Zobrist double and intentional walks to Wil Myers and Yunel Escobar. With two outs, Loney singled to right to plate two and make it 5-1.
Trout crushed the longest home run at Tropicana Field this season in the fourth, abusing an offering from Hernandez an estimated 458 feet into the deck in center to tie the game at 1-1.
"As the game went on our bats got better and we got some clutch hits," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
Prior to the game, the Rays optioned pitcher Jeremy Hellickson to Single-A Charlotte and recalled pitcher Jeff Beliveau from Triple-A Durham ... Wilson walked five, allowed eight hits and three runs ... Hernandez was charged with three runs and struck out six ... Wilson is undefeated in his last nine starts.