Boom! Boom! Consecutive solo home runs by Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout in the first inning were all the Los Angeles Angels needed as they defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0 Tuesday night in St. Petersburg. It was their third straight win and seventh victory in nine games, lifting their record to 25-23.
“Getting early runs are always important,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Andrelton Simmons had three hits and Danny Valbuena two. Trout had one hit – the homer – but walked once and scored twice. After the initial home run barrage in the first, the Angels tacked on two more in the top of the eighth on a walk, a single, and a sacrifice double play.
The win put the Angels in a virtual tie for second place in the American League West with the Texas Rangers, who are 24-22. The Halos have a winning percentage of .521, compared to .522 for the Rangers. Both teams are seven games back of the Houston Astros (31-15, .674).
In the race for the two AL wild card spots, the Rangers, Angels and Boston Red Sox are each one game back of the Cleveland Indians (24-20, .545). The Angels are next in action Wednesday at Tropicana Field with Ricky Nolasco (2-3) making the start for the Orange County team.
THREE LOCALS ADVANCE TO CIF QUARTER-FINALS
A trio of teams from the Garden Grove-Huntington Beach-Westminster area advanced to the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS baseball and softball playoffs with wins on Tuesday.
In Division 1 baseball, Nick Pratto pitched a seven-inning shutout, struck out 10 batters and hit a two-run home run as Huntington Beach (27-4) defeated Servite 3-0. The Oilers will face El Dorado on Friday.
In D-2 play, Edison (20-12) edged Moorpark 2-1 and in D-5, Garden Grove (17-9) lost 3-1 to Campbell Hill. The Chargers will face Palm Desert on Friday.
Softball action in Division 1 saw Pacifica (22-7) blank South Hills 3-0, while Santiago (23-3) fell to Schurr 4-2 in D-6 action. The Mariners will be facing Norco (30-0), the nation’s top-ranked team, on Thursday.