Anaheim, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Mike Trout's first career walk-off homer lifted the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim over the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-5, in the opener of a four-game series.
Holding a 5-2 lead, the Rays sent Grant Balfour to the mound in the ninth. He walked Hank Conger and pinch-hitter Efren Navarro before giving up an RBI single to Collin Cowgill. Brad Boxberger (0-1) replaced Balfour and Trout greeted him with a three-run homer to left.
"It's an unbelievable feeling when you can help your team like that," Trout said. "Our team's playing great right now. We've just got to keep it going. I've been struggling and other guys have been picking me up. I'm just trying to stay positive. My swings feel good."
Fernando Salas (3-0) got the win for the Angels after tossing a perfect ninth. Tyler Skaggs got the start and gave up five runs on eight hits with five strikeouts over six-plus innings.
Brandon Guyer hit a solo homer and knocked in two runs for the Rays, who had a brief two-game winning streak snapped. James Loney had two RBI and a run scored.
Tampa Bay starter Erik Bedard allowed two unearned runs on four hits with five strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings.
"We've had a couple [of tough losses in 2014]," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "The one in Chicago was difficult. This one was also very difficult. You can't take too many mulligans like this. There's not that many available."
The Rays took a 1-0 lead on Guyer's RBI single in the second.
The Angels left a runner on third in the fourth. Trout reached second on shortstop Yunel Escobar's throwing error and advanced to third on Howie Kendrick's one-out groundout. C.J. Cron followed with a deep fly ball to center field, but Desmond Jennings made a leaping catch at the wall.
Tampa Bay tacked on three more runs in the sixth. Logan Forsythe led off with a single and Evan Longoria followed with a walk. Wil Myers then hit an RBI double to left. Two batters later, Loney hit a two-run single to right. Escobar grounded into a double play to keep it 4-0.
Los Angeles got two runs back in the bottom half of the frame. With two outs, Kendrick and Cron hit back-to-back singles to put men on the corners. Erick Aybar reached base on first baseman Loney's fielding error, which allowed Kendrick to score. Brandon Gomes came in from the bullpen and immediately gave up an RBI single to pinch-hitter Raul Ibanez. Jake McGee got Grant Green to go down swinging to end the inning.
Guyer led off the seventh with a homer to right, making it 5-2 Rays.
The Angels went 4-3 against the Rays in 2013 ... Prior to the game, Tampa Bay placed utilityman Ben Zobrist on the 15-day disabled list and selected the contract of infielder Cole Figueroa from Triple-A Durham ... Angels manager Mike Scioscia won two replay challenges.