The Tampa Bay Rays try to put the brakes on a three-game losing streak on Wednesday when they resume a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Tropicana Field.
Tampa lost Tuesday's opener in disappointing fashion, as 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 Los Angeles to a 6-5 win.
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 fell 2 1/2 games behind AL East-leading Boston.
Now Tampa, which still occupies one of the two wild card spots in the AL, turns to rookie Chris Archer, who is 7-5 with a 2.93 ERA. Archer was terrific in beating the New York Yankees on Friday, as he held them to a pair of runs in seven innings.
Archer has never faced the Angels, but is aware of how dangerous their lineup can be.
"They're very capable of putting up five or six runs per game," Archer said. "They may not be having the greatest of seasons, but they're fully capable of producing runs. We have to be smart. This next month is crucial for us. As much as we rely on pitching and defense, we have to step it up."
Los Angeles, meanwhile, will counter with righty Garrett Richards, who is coming off one of the best outings of his career. Richards scattered four hits over 7 1/3 scoreless innings in Seattle on Friday to improve to 4-5, while lowering his ERA to 3.95.
Over his last six starts Richards has pitched to a 2.75 ERA.