Brad Miller, Curt Casali help Rays finish off sweep of Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Matt Andriese made his season debut for the Tampa Bay Rays on Mother's Day. His mother, Lynn, was in the stands watching him pitch in the big leagues for the first time.
So yeah, Andriese had a few butterflies on the Angel Stadium mound on Sunday.
He overcame them in plenty of time to make a stellar start.
Andriese pitched seven innings of four-hit ball, Brad Miller hit a two-run homer and the Rays completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a 3-1 victory.
Andriese (1-0) shut down the Angels with a big contingent of family and friends in the stands behind the Rays' dugout, including his parents and two brothers. The UC Riverside product is from Redlands, California, about 50 miles northeast of Anaheim.
"Being back in the stadium where I grew up going to, just knowing that I had a lot of family and friends there, I got the nerves going a little bit with the first inning," Andriese said. "But after that, it kind of went smoother."
Two days after his cross-country flight from Triple-A Durham, Andriese trailed after the Angels' first four batters when Albert Pujols' sacrifice fly fell about 3 feet shy of a 3-run homer.
"I felt like I wasn't as aggressive in that first inning, kind of was feeling my way through it," he said. "When (Pujols') ball stayed in, I kind of took a deep breath and said, `All right, been here before.'"
Andriese allowed two more hits and no more runs. He was at his best in escaping a two-on, no-out jam in the sixth, striking out Mike Trout and getting Pujols to ground into a double play.
"He does a good job of composing himself," Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Andriese. "You watch him in those moments, and he just refuses to give in."
Curt Casali homered as the Rays (15-14) won four straight games and moved above .500, accomplishing both for the first time since last August.
Alex Colome pitched the ninth for his ninth save in as many chances, retiring Trout and Pujols as Tampa Bay swept Los Angeles for the first time since 2012.
"We're playing good baseball," Cash said. "The guys are really responding well in those clutch situations."
Nick Tropeano (1-2) struck out 10 while pitching into the sixth inning for Los Angeles, yielding seven hits and two walks. He is winless in five straight starts despite mostly pitching well for the light-hitting Angels.
Yunel Escobar had two singles for the Angels, who didn't get an extra-base hit and couldn't score after the first inning in their seventh loss in nine games.
"We've got to stay positive," said Trout, who went 1 for 3 with a walk. "We're just going through a funk right now, but things will turn. It's a long season, so that's the only thing you look at. You can't look at what happened the last few weeks. Obviously, it's not the start we wanted coming out of spring training, but we've got to turn the page."
Miller connected in the third for his second homer and sixth hit in the weekend series. Casali hit his third homer in 13 May at-bats on Tropeano's first pitch of the fifth inning. The light-hitting catcher had one homer in 48 at-bats in April.
The Rays have won five straight games at Angel Stadium, improving to 21-8 here since May 11, 2010.
The Angels lost shortstop Andrelton Simmons to a sprained left thumb in the third inning, capping a miserable weekend for a struggling team. Simmons came down awkwardly on his glove while diving to stop Evan Longoria's grounder. Simmons, who snapped an 0-for-21 skid at the plate a day earlier, will have an MRI on Monday.
Angels: LHP C.J. Wilson threw off a mound for the first time since March in his return from shoulder tendinitis. Apparently the session went well, but the $77.5 million starter is still a long way from returning, manager Mike Scioscia said.
Rays: Matt Moore (1-3, 4.95 ERA) takes the mound in the opener of a three-game series at Seattle.
Angels: After a day off, Hector Santiago (2-1, 3.58 ERA) will open an interleague series against the St. Louis Cardinals in Anaheim.