ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Matt Moore returned to the mound for the first time in more than a month, and the Tampa Bay Rays couldn't be happier.
Moore, out since July 28 with a sore elbow, picked up where he left off, pitching the Rays to a 7-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.
Moore (15-3) gave up one unearned run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings to earn the win, his seventh in a row going back to before his time on the disabled list. During Moore's absence, the Rays went 13-18 and fell from being a half-game out of first place in the American League East to 5 1/2 games out.
Because Boston also won Tuesday, the Rays remained 5 1/2 out, but they ended a five-game losing streak and increased their lead in the race for the second wild-card spot to 2 1/2 games over the Yankees.
Moore got plenty of support from the offense, which scored as many runs Tuesday as it did during the entire five-game losing streak. The Rays had 15 hits, including at least one from every player in the starting lineup and two each from five of them. Desmond Jennings and Yunel Escobar hit home runs, and Delmon Young had two hits in his first start since rejoining the Rays.
On the receiving end of the offensive onslaught was Angels starter Jason Vargas (8-6), who gave up five runs and 10 hits in only four innings. The loss ended the Angels' five-game winning streak.
The Rays took a 1-0 lead in the second inning against Vargas when James Loney singled, went to third on a double by Wil Myers and scored on Kelly Johnson's groundout. The Angels tied the score in the bottom of the inning when Erick Aybar doubled and later scored on second baseman Ben Zobrist's throwing error.
The Rays regained the lead in the third on Jennings' leadoff homer but missed a chance for a big inning. They loaded the bases on two walks and a single with nobody out, but Loney grounded into a 5-2-3 double play and Myers struck out. They kept the pressure on Vargas in the fourth, getting a two-run double by Zobrist for a 4-1 lead.
NOTES: Angels OF Josh Hamilton was not in the starting lineup because of a sinus infection. He said his sore left shoulder, which has kept him from playing the field since last week, is better now. ... Angels C Chris Iannetta batted in the No. 2 spot for the first time in his career. Although he entered the game hitting just .212, his on-base percentage of .355 was second best on the team to OF Mike Trout's .432. Iannetta has more walks (61) than hits (57). ... Rays OF Sam Fuld retired the only batter he faced in mop-up duty during Monday's 11-2 loss to the Angels, getting J.B. Shuck on a flyout to shallow center. He became the third position player in Rays history to pitch in a game, joining Wade Boggs (1999) and Josh Wilson (2007). ... Rays 3B Evan Longoria entered the game with only two hits in his previous 30 at-bats, his average dipping to .263. That's the lowest it has been since April 2, when he was hitting .250 after going 1-for-4 on opening day.