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Vargas leads Angels past Rays
St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - Jason Vargas turned in a stellar performance with seven scoreless innings and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim posted a series victory over the Tampa Bay Rays with Thursday's 2-0 win.
Vargas (8-5) didn't give the Rays much to work with, as the left-hander struck out seven and scattered just two hits and three walks in leading the Angels to their second victory in this three-game set at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay had runners on second and third with one out in the ninth, but Angels closer Ernesto Frieri came out of the jam unscathed and posted his 28th save. The Rays were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position on the afternoon.
Luis Jimenez, recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake prior to the game, and Kole Calhoun each drove in a run to account for the game's only offense.
Jake Odorizzi (0-1) made the start for Tampa Bay and was charged with one run on four hits and two walks over five frames.
Tampa has dropped four of its last five games, but remains a half-game ahead the Oakland A's for the top Wild Card spot in the American League. The two teams will meet on Friday for the beginning of a three-game set in Oakland, where the Rays will start a 10-game western road trip.
The Rays looked poised for a big first inning after loading the bases with one out against Vargas, but came up empty after Sean Rodriguez and Yunel Escobar flew out.
Hank Conger scored for the Angels in the second to give them a 1-0 lead, reaching with a one-out walk, being bumped over to second on a ground out, then crossing the plate on Jimenez's base hit to left.
The Angels added another run in the sixth off reliever Alex Torres. After a leadoff single from J.B. Shuck and a Mike Trout walk, Calhoun ripped a two-out single up the middle to bring Shuck home.
Tampa Bay, with only three hits for the game, didn't record its second until the sixth inning. It left a pair on base in that inning as well and then again in the ninth.
Wil Myers walked to begin the final frame and scampered to third on Escobar's double off the right field wall. However, Frieri escaped trouble by retiring Kelly Johnson on a foul pop up and pinch-hitter David DeJesus on a fly out.
The Rays were denied a fifth consecutive home series victory ... The Angels won their first series against Tampa Bay since April 29-May, 1, 2011 ... Myers is 0-for-19 with nine strikeouts over his last six contests. He did walk three times on Thursday, however ... The Rays were shutout for the seventh time this season.
08/29 16:39:00 ET