Angels seek fifth straight win in opener with Rays

( - The Los Angeles Angels try to keep up their latest surge and move further above the .500 mark on Monday evening when they begin a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Angels had lost four of five ahead of a recent four-game series with the Detroit Tigers, but finished off the sweep with Sunday's 4-2 win. It was Los Angeles' eighth victory in its past 10 home games and moved the club a season- high three games over .500.

Johnny Giavotella's two-run single in the eighth inning chased home the winning runs. Los Angeles loaded the bases off Detroit starter David Price before Giavotella got the better of reliever Joba Chamberlain.

"It was a great feeling coming through for the team," said Giavotella. "I was looking for a fastball and I got a slider."

Los Angeles starter Matt Shoemaker allowed two runs -- one earned -- on four hits with five strikeouts and four walks over 5 1/3 innings. Joe Smith tossed a scoreless eighth to earn the win and Huston Street pitched a perfect ninth for his 17th save of the season.

Right-hander Garrett Richards gets the call for the Angels hoping to avoid a third loss in four starts.

Richards has yielded 10 runs -- eight earned -- over his last two starts and is coming off a 5-4 setback to San Diego on Wednesday. The outing came on his 27th birthday, but he was tagged for five runs -- three earned -- on eight hits and two walks in 6 2/3 innings. He fell to 4-3 with a 3.12 earned run average on the year.

"Garrett kept battling but didn't have his best command," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

Owner of a 2.30 ERA over four starts at home this season, Richards is 1-1 in his career versus the Rays over two previous starts with a 5.40 ERA.

The Rays are looking to stay on the winning track as they won the final two contests of a three-game set with the Baltimore Orioles. They had lost six in a row prior to the win streak.

Steven Souza helped Tampa Bay clinch the series victory, hitting a three-run homer in Sunday's 9-5 win. David DeJesus added a solo homer and Logan Forsythe knocked in a run and scored twice.

The Rays are tied with the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East.

"That skid was tough, but to beat an in-division team like this means a lot for us," said Souza, who has homered in three straight and four of his last six games. "They're a tough team and this was a good series."

Jake Odorizzi snapped a three-start losing streak as he pitched six innings and gave up four runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts.

Though length is still an issue with his starts this season, Alex Colome will take the mound for the Rays tonight with a 3-1 record and 4.55 ERA on the season.

Colome has reached just six innings pitched once through his six outings this season and is coming off a no-decision versus Seattle on Tuesday. He yielded a pair of runs over 5 1/3 frames on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

The 26-year-old righty has not allowed a home run in three straight starts since giving up four in a loss on May 11 and faces the Angels for the first time.

The Angels won five of seven versus the Rays last season and have won four of their past five at home in this matchup.