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Angels' Williams ends 14-start winless streak

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The last time Jerome Williams won a game, the Los Angeles Angels at least had a glimmer of hope that their season would turn around and be somewhat successful. Now, not so much.

Williams gave up two runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings to lead the Angels to a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night at Angel Stadium.

In his previous 14 starts, Williams was 0-8 with a 6.29 ERA. He finally came out on top Thursday for the first time since a win over the Baltimore Orioles on June 12. He matched a season high with seven strikeouts.

Williams (6-10) walked two and gave up a two-run double to James Loney in the third inning, but that was it.

"No, it didn't weigh me," Williams said of the extended winless streak. "Every time I go out there, I try my best, and unfortunately those times I didn't get the wins, it just didn't happen. So all I could do is go out there like I normally do and try to throw up zeros."

Williams' contract is up at the end of the season, and with the Angels out of the playoff race, the rest of the season is an extended audition for the right-hander. His audience is not just the Angels, but the rest of baseball.

"I'm just going out and doing my job and trying to do my best," he said. "Whatever happens, happens. As long as at the end of the season I can look myself in the mirror and say I did well, I did OK, then I'm satisfied."

He got support from the Angels' offense, which included a hit from everybody in the starting lineup. Josh Hamilton and Luis Jimenez each had two hits, but the big hit came from Collin Cowgill, who cleared the bases with a three-run double off Rays starter David Price (8-7) in the second inning.

Price gave up all six runs in the first three innings, but he stuck around and lasted seven innings, allowing 11 hits, striking out six and walking one. The six earned runs are the most he's allowed since he gave up eight in his second start of the season, April 7.

"He made some bad pitches at the wrong times," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "The pitch to Cowgill was just an elevated changeup. That hurt. He was just missing early, then settled in and pitched extremely well after that. It was just in the beginning of the game that he was off with some of the off-speed stuff."

The Angels salvaged a split in the four-game series, while the Rays missed a chance to increase their lead in the race for the second American League wild-card spot. The Rays lead the New York Yankees by 2 1/2 games, while Baltimore and the Cleveland Indians are both three back.

The Rays' offense, or lack thereof, continues to be a problem. Tampa Bay has scored more than three runs only once in the past eight games.

"I think definitely we're trying way too hard," Maddon said. "I'm trying to do everything I possibly can to have them not do that. They care, they care too much. They want this so badly, but sometimes you have to just permit it to happen. Go out and play the game and not overthink it, not try to overdo it. I'm trying to get them to relax and play the game and let it happen."

NOTES: Angels OF Mike Trout went 1-for-3 with a walk. He entered the game with 36 walks in his previous 34 games, most in the majors during that time, and his .534 on-base percentage during that stretch was 63 points higher than the mark of any other major-leaguer. His 86 walks lead the league and are more than his total of last season (67). ... Angels RHP Ernesto Frieri, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning, made his 10th consecutive scoreless appearances (11 2/3 innings). He is 2-0 with four saves during that span. His 30 saves this season are a career high and make him the eighth Angel in club history to reach the milestone. ... Rays CF Desmond Jennings was not in the starting lineup Thursday, just getting a day off. He is hitting .263 (5-for-19) on the current road trip that started in Oakland and moves to Seattle starting Friday. He entered the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh and drew a walk. ... Rays RHP Jesse Crain is scheduled to throw off the mound this weekend when the team is in Seattle. Crain has a strained right shoulder and has not pitched for the Rays since he was acquired in a trade with the White Sox on July 29.
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