ANAHEIM, Calif. – B.J. Upton homered on the first pitch of the game from former Tampa Bay teammate Scott Kazmir and doubled home another run to help the Rays defeat the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 on Monday night and move into a tie with the Yankees atop the AL East standings.
The Rays' win and New York's 3-2 loss at Toronto left the teams with identical 77-48 records, tied for best in the majors.
James Shields (12-11) allowed eight hits and three runs — two earned — in six-plus innings, struck out 10 and walked one in his 144th career start, tying Kazmir for most in club history. The right-hander from the Los Angeles suburb of Newhall earned his 55th career victory, tying Kazmir's mark.
Rafael Soriano struck out the side in the ninth to earn his 38th save in 40 chances.
Kazmir (8-11) gave up five hits and four runs in 5 1-3 innings, struck out four and walked four to fall to 1-6 in his last eight starts.
Upton ended an 0-for-11 skid with his 12th homer and second leadoff home run of the season. Ben Zobrist extended the Rays' lead to 3-0 with a two-run single later in the first.
Upton doubled into the left-field corner in the second, putting the Rays up 4-0.
His next time up, Upton flied out to the warning track in left-center in the fourth, then was robbed of a home run by center fielder Peter Bourjos in the sixth. Bourjos also took away a home run from former Angel Sean Rodriguez leading off the second, but the ball bounced off his glove and ended up as a double.
The Angels trailed 4-2 in the third on Hideki Matsui's two-run double with two outs. They made it 4-3 in the seventh on Howie Kendrick's sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Rays 3B Evan Longoria was hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts after being named AL player of the week when he hit .393 last week. ... The Rays concluded a three-day stretch against left-handed starters. They are 30-13, tops in the majors, when an opponent starts a lefty. ... The Angels have lost three of four against the Rays at home, where Los Angeles is 14-4 against them since 2006.