Austin Meadows smacks 30th HR of the year in Rays’ decisive win over Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Willy Adames, Austin Meadows and Jesús Aguilar homered in the third inning, and the Tampa Bay Rays kept pace in the AL wild card race with an 11-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.

Guillermo Heredia also homered and Avisaíl García drove in three runs for the Rays, who snapped a two-game mini-skid with their 12th win in 15 games. Tampa Bay (88-61) remained right behind Oakland (88-60) in the second wild card slot and a game ahead of Cleveland (86-61).

Charlie Morton (15-6) yielded three runs over six innings of six-hit ball in yet another strong start by the 35-year-old right-hander.

Kole Calhoun hit two homers for the Angels, who lost their fifth straight while playing without Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton. Los Angeles dropped to 67-81, guaranteeing four straight non-winning seasons for the first time since 1993-96.

Although they’re 11th in the AL in homers this season, the Rays showed power against the Angels. Meadows’ team-leading 30th homer extended his hitting streak to 12 games, and it put the Rays ahead to stay during their big third inning against Andrew Heaney (4-5).

The only veteran left in the Angels’ rotation couldn’t get out of the fourth inning, yielding 10 hits and six runs in just his second loss since July 6.

Trout missed his fifth straight game with an irritated nerve in his right foot. The superstar was in the Angels’ early lineup, but was scratched about two hours before game time to give him another day of rest.

Morton has matched his career high by winning 15 games for the second consecutive season, but with more strikeouts than he managed last season in Houston and a near-identical ERA. Morton had a personal 22-game unbeaten streak that ended against the Angels in June, but that defeat remains his only loss in nine career starts against the Halos.

Calhoun threw out Meadows at the plate to end the first inning. Albert Pujols then doubled and scored on Luis Rengifo‘s single in the second, giving the Angels their first lead since last Saturday.

Adames connected leading off the third for his 18th homer, his first since Aug. 28. Meadows added a two-run shot with one out.

SPEEDY DAVIS

The Rays’ Johnny Davis, a fast 29-year-old outfielder from nearby Compton, got his first major league hit in the ninth inning with a triple down the left field line. Davis then scored his first run on Aguilar’s sacrifice fly. Davis, who made his big league debut Wednesday as a pinch-runner and promptly got picked off, was signed by Tampa Bay on Aug. 26 out of the Mexican League, where he stole 54 bases. He’ll be a pinch-runner and defensive replacement down the stretch for Tampa Bay.

GLOVE GONE

When Aguilar hit a solo homer to center with two outs in the third, outfielder Brian Goodwin‘s glove fell off his hand and behind the fence into the area by the Big A’s ficus trees while he failed to catch it. Goodwin stood on the warning track awkwardly while Aguilar circled the bases, but someone eventually found the glove and threw it back on the field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell is tentatively scheduled to start Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. He has been out since late July for elbow surgery, but is eager to help the Rays’ push for a playoff spot.

Angels: Trout had a cryoablation procedure earlier in the week to deaden the tissue around the nerve. He began the day still leading the AL with 45 homers. … Ohtani had surgery Friday on his left kneecap. He will need eight to 12 weeks of recovery, but is expected to have time to complete his Tommy John throwing progressions before spring training. … Upton sat out with a right knee injury.

UP NEXT

Tyler Glasnow (6-1, 2.15 ERA) a native of the north end of the sprawling five-county Los Angeles area, makes his second start back from a four-month injury absence for Tampa Bay. He faces Jaime Barria (4-8, 6.14 ERA), who is pitching at home for the first time since July after making six straight road appearances.