Anaheim, CA – Erick Aybar smacked a two-run homer and added a two-run triple in the LA Angels of Anaheim's 11-2 rout of the Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a four-game set.
Garrett Richards (5-6) surrendered just a run on two hits, but walked seven over five frames for the Angels, who have won five in a row and nine of their last 10 tilts.
"My control was to say the least a little off. I have to get back to pounding the zone. We got the win and that's the most important thing," Richards said.
Chris Archer (8-6) allowed five runs on nine hits and a walk over 3 2/3 innings for Tampa Bay, which dropped its fifth straight contest as is two games ahead of the Baltimore Orioles for the AL's second wild-card spot. The New York Yankees are 2 1/2 games back.
"We saw a lot of pitches from Richards, but we only had two hits. I think it's more about pressing. We need to come out and play like we did as kids," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Ben Zobrist cracked a solo shot and added an RBI single in defeat.
Zobrist's one-out solo shot in the first opened the scoring, but the Angels answered with a run in the home half, added another in the third and poured it on with a three-run fourth.
Josh Hamilton's RBI double in the home first tied it and Kole Calhoun's one- out single in the third put the Halos in front. A J.B. Shuck RBI groundout and Aybar's two-run blast accounted for the runs in the fourth to give the Angels a 5-1 spread.
Wil Myers struck out with the bases loaded in the fifth to keep it a 5-1 game. Zobrist's two-out RBI single in the sixth cut the spread to 5-2 before the Halos turned the game into a rout with a five-run home sixth.
Aybar had a two-run triple, Hank Conger deposited an RBI single into right field, Luis Jimenez registered a sacrifice fly and Peter Bourjos' two-out RBI single upped the Angels' advantage to 10-2.
Pinch-hitter Grant Green's first career homer, a leadoff shot into the front row of seats to right-center in the seventh, made it 11-2.
Mike Trout stole two bases, which gives him 31 on the season ... Aybar's homer was his fifth of the season ... The Angels were 8-for-17 with runners in scoring position ... Rays positional player Sam Fuld recorded the final out in the eighth. He became the third positional player to pitch for Tampa Bay in franchise history.