Rays-Angels Preview

The Associated Press

Los Angeles Angels ace Jered Weaver, a Southern California native, feels right at home pitching in Anaheim.

So do the Tampa Bay Rays.

Weaver tries to bounce back from his first home loss of the season Friday night against the Rays, who turn to James Shields to extend their 33-inning scoreless streak at Angel Stadium.

Tampa Bay (64-54) picked up right where it left off after shutting out the Angels (62-57) in the final two of a three-game set last month in Anaheim, taking Thursday's series opener 7-0. David Price allowed three hits over seven innings to become baseball's first 16-game winner as the Rays bounced back from Felix Hernandez's perfect game from Wednesday and moved into a tie with Baltimore atop the AL wild-card standings. Tampa Bay has won 13 of 18.

The Angels, who are 2 1/2 games out of a wild card, have lost 10 of 15 overall, nine of 10 to the Rays and 10 of the last 12 meetings between the clubs in Anaheim.

Los Angeles defeated the Rays 3-1 at home on July 27, but since scoring in the third inning of that contest has managed 17 hits while failing to score over the last 33 innings of the series at Angel Stadium.

That sort of pitching dominance in Anaheim is typically reserved for Weaver (15-2, 2.22 ERA), who failed to become the first pitcher in the majors to 16 wins in his last outing.

Los Angeles had won Weaver's first nine starts at Angel Stadium before he allowed three runs and four hits - including a pair of homers to Jesus Montero - in seven innings of Sunday's 4-1 loss to Seattle. Weaver's home ERA rose to 1.23 - still the best in baseball.

The right-hander, who had won nine straight starts before Sunday, has made 44 starts since the last time he lost back-to-back games.

This will be his first outing of the season versus the Rays, against whom he is 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA in seven career starts. He has a 1.99 ERA in three starts against them at Angel Stadium.

Although Los Angeles has won 17 of Weaver's last 19 home starts, one mistake by the three-time All-Star could be costly going up against Shields (10-7, 4.02).

Shields is 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA and a 0.50 WHIP in his last three starts after going 1-3 with a 6.15 ERA in his previous seven. Against Minnesota on Sunday, the right-hander gave up three runs and five hits in seven innings of Tampa Bay's 7-3, 10-inning victory.

Shields, who is making his first appearance in the season series, is 2-1 with a 2.55 ERA in his last five starts against the Angels.

This will be his first time facing Albert Pujols, but Howie Kendrick might be his biggest concern. Kendrick, who is hitting .352 in his last 14 games, is batting .571 with four doubles in 21 career at-bats against Shields.

While Weaver generally dominates at Angel Stadium, he isn't the only Southern California native to shine in his backyard.

Evan Longoria, who was born in nearby Downey and went 2 for 4 with a two-run homer Thursday, is batting .431 with five home runs, nine doubles and 15 RBIs in 14 career games at Angel Stadium. He is 3 for 8 with three doubles lifetime against Weaver.

The Rays are 8-2 since Longoria returned from a partially torn left hamstring. They went 41-44 while he was sidelined.

"Just having him in the lineup is a big factor for us because that other pitcher know where he's at," Price said. "And that helps everybody else."

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