Rays 12, Angels 3

James Shields and the Tampa Bay Rays caught Jered Weaver on an

off night. B.J. Upton and Ben Zobrist made the Los Angeles Angels’

ace pay for his mistakes.

Upton went 4 for 5 with a home run and three RBIs, Zobrist and

Jose Molina also homered and the Rays battered Weaver for a

career-worst nine earned runs in a 12-3 victory Friday.

”Weaver’s a good pitcher and he’s been pitching really, really

well all season long,” Shields said. ”I know as well as anybody

that sometimes you’re going to have bad days, and tonight our team

did a great job of getting to him early.”

Shields (11-7) allowed three runs, seven hits and no walks in

six innings while striking out eight, helping the Rays maintain a

one-game lead over Detroit and Baltimore in the AL wild-card race.

The Orioles lost to the Tigers after starting the day tied with

Tampa Bay.

Shields, the subject of trade rumors before the non-waiver

deadline on July 31, is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four starts since.

The 30-year-old right-hander was 1-3 with a 6.15 ERA in a

seven-start stretch before the deadline passed.

”The only difference is the numbers,” Shields said. ”I mean,

I’ve been pitching the same way and I’ve taken the same approach in

every single game. So I don’t think it’s more relaxing now –

because we’re fighting for the wild card and fighting for the AL

East, so we have to win every game.”

Upton had a different take on Shields’ turnaround.

”I know how going through that trade deadline thing is because

I’ve dealt with it the last couple of years,” he said. ”So I

think with that phase of the season being over and him still being

here, I’m sure it’s taken a little bit of pressure off of

him.”

Weaver (15-3) had his shortest outing of the season, giving up

eight hits and two walks in three-plus innings – including

Zobrist’s 14th homer and Upton’s 15th. It was the sixth time the

three-time All-Star allowed multiple homers in back-to-back starts

during his seven-year career. Seattle’s Jesus Montero went deep

twice against him last Sunday in the Mariners’ 4-1 victory.

”There are going to be times when stuff like this happens, but

it’s obviously not a good time of the year for it to happen,”

Weaver said. ”My fastball command wasn’t good. The only thing that

was really good was my changeup, but I can’t throw that every

pitch. It was just one of those weird nights. Everything they were

hitting was finding holes and finding gaps, so what are you going

to do? Obviously it’s disappointing, but you can’t dwell on

it.”

Upton hit a first-pitch homer into the left-field bullpen with

one out in the first and Zobrist led off the second with a drive

into the elevated seats in right-center, marking the third time

this season that Weaver allowed more than one home run in an

outing.

Weaver, who came in with a chance to tie Tampa Bay’s David Price

for the major league lead in wins, faced eight batters and threw 24

pitches in the fourth inning without recording an out.

Sean Rodriguez and Ryan Roberts had RBI singles, Molina followed

with a two-run single and Desmond Jennings chased Weaver with an

RBI double. Upton greeted LaTroy Hawkins with a two-run single that

extended Tampa Bay’s lead to 9-1.

”I kind of took it easy in the bullpen before the game, just

trying to locate, but my secondary pitches weren’t sharp, and I

knew that coming in,” Weaver said. ”When you don’t have anything

coming off your fastball, it’s going to be a long night. I couldn’t

miss any bats. I tried to battle as much as possible, but it

obviously caught up with me there in the fourth.”

Molina, who spent seven seasons as a backup catcher with the

Angels and was a member of their only World Series championship

club in 2002, hit his fourth homer in the eighth against Jason

Isringhausen.

The Angels, shut out in each of their previous three games

against the Rays, finally ended their string of 34 consecutive

scoreless innings against Tampa Bay with Erick Aybar’s leadoff

homer in the third. Howie Kendrick added a two-run homer in the

fourth.

”I didn’t even know anything about that streak. We were just

trying to put runs on the board,” Kendrick said. ”They’ve got a

good staff. They’ve got guys that go out and pound the strike zone

and get outs when they need to. They also play in a division where

they’ve got to have great pitching. It seems like every time we

face them they come out and throw well against us.”

NOTES: Weaver lost only one of his first 16 decisions, a 13-6

rout by the Texas Rangers in which he gave up eight earned runs. He

came in with a major league-best 2.54 home ERA since the start of

his 2006 rookie season. … Angels RHP Dan Haren, who hasn’t gotten

out of the fourth inning in his last two starts, will be skipped in

the rotation next week with the team having a travel day before its

six-game trip to Boston and Detroit. The three-time All-Star gave

up 10 earned runs and 12 hits in losses to the Rays and Mariners.

… J.P. Howell extended his scoreless streak to 23 2-3 innings

with a perfect ninth, surpassing the franchise record of 23 that

Shields set in 2011. … The Rays lead the season series 7-1 with

two games remaining. They have held Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and

Mark Trumbo to a combined .200 average with one home run and five

RBIs. … Weaver, whose next scheduled outing will be against

Boston at Fenway Park, hasn’t lost three consecutive starts since

dropping four in a row in May 2011. … The Angels are expecting

relievers Jordan Walden and Scott Downs to return this weekend from

injuries. Walden has been sidelined by a biceps strain, Downs by a

shoulder strain.