ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — David Price kept Albert Pujols and the Los Angeles Angels in an early-season funk
The two-time AL All-Star pitched a five-hitter for his second career shutout, Tampa Bay homered four times, and the Rays beat the Angels 5-0 on Tuesday night.
“I don’t know if we’ve seen a better game against us,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said.
Pujols went 0 for 4 and is hitless in 16 at-bats. The Los Angeles slugger has not homered in 17 games this year, a stretch of 69 at-bats.
“I’m not trying to go out there to try to do too much,” Pujols said. “I’ve been in this situation before. It’s part of the game. You can’t let into your head. You just need to keep fighting and knowing it’s a long season.”
Los Angeles has dropped 5 of 7 and are 6-11 overall.
“I don’t concentrate on individual numbers, I concentrate more as a team,” Pujols said. “I think we’ve got a better ballclub than what we’ve been showing. It seems like everybody in the lineup is struggling.”
Pujols did hit several balls hard, including a drive that went foul down the left-field line and a liner to short.
“It’s just startling,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “Hey, it’s early in the season. He’s in a new environment. But he’s going hit his share by the end of the year. I’m going to do the Joe-Willie (Namath), I guarantee that.”
Price (3-1) gave up all singles in his first shutout since a four-hitter against Toronto on April 25, 2010. His only other complete game came July 2, 2010, against Minnesota.
“I think everybody in the league knows that he throws a lot of fastballs, but he was mixing up his pitches pretty well and keeping the ball down,” Pujols said. “He didn’t make a lot of mistakes. He was pretty comfortable pitching from the wind-up all the time.”
Desmond Jennings, Luke Scott, B.J. Upton and Carlos Pena hit solo homers off Angels starter Ervin Santana (0-4), who has given up at least two home runs in each of his first four starts this season – a total of 10 overall. Don Sutton, in 1986, is the only other Angels pitcher to allow multiple homers in his first four starts, according to Stats LLC.
“He just missed some spots and they didn’t miss the pitches,” Scioscia said.
Santana gave up five runs and eight hits over five-plus innings.
“Just keep pitching, fix it in the bullpen,” Santana said. “That’s how you get better and that’s what I’m going to do. Locate my fastball, that’s it.”
Price allowed just one baserunner — a leadoff walk in the fourth to Erick Aybar — through four innings. The left-hander snared a liner hit by Vernon Wells to end the second, and right fielder Matt Joyce made a diving catch near the foul line on Chris Iannetta’s pop fly in the third.
Mark Trumbo got the Angels’ first hit, a leadoff single in the fifth. Price then induced a double-play grounder from Wells.
Jennings put the Rays up 1-0 on a first-inning leadoff homer. He has gone deep three times in the last five games after hitting just two home runs over his previous 41.
Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead on solo homers by Scott and Upton in the fourth and fifth innings.
Pena got his 1,000th big league hit, a solo homer, in a two-run sixth that extended the lead to 5-0. Upton added a sacrifice fly in the inning.
The Rays had a team-record four sacrifice flies in their previous game, a 6-2 win over Minnesota on Sunday.
NOTES: Pujols has not driven in a run since April 15 and has four RBIs this season. … Tampa Bay RHP Kyle Farnsworth (strained right elbow) is nearing the start of a throwing program. “It’s going forward,” he said. … Trumbo started in right field, his fifth different position this season. … Los Angeles LHP C.J. Wilson (2-1) and Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (2-0) are Wednesday night’s starting pitchers.