Rays' miscue aids Angels' late rally

The Sports Xchange

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Errors rarely cost the Tampa Bay Rays, because the rarely ever commit them. Tuesday night was the exception, and the impact was immediate.

A dropped fly ball by center fielder Desmond Jennings set up Erick Aybar's two-run double in the ninth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels rallied past Tampa Bay for a 6-5 win at Tropicana Field.

Grant Green led off the ninth with a walk against closer Fernando Rodney but was erased when Peter Bourjos grounded into a fielder's choice. Bourjos stole second base and went to third when J.B. Shuck flared a ball into center field that Jennings charged but had glance off his glove. Shuck took second base.

"When they cracked the door open," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "we got the big hit from Erick to help us out."

Aybar yanked a ball to the gap in right-center to give the Angels a 6-5 lead.

"I was just looking for a good pitch," Aybar said. "We know Fernando is a good pitcher. He's a good closer. I saw two changeups and a fastball. With a pitcher like Fernando, you can't think too much. Good fastball and changeup. Just look for a pitch in the zone."

Rodney (5-4) allowed two runs (one earned) on a hit and two walks as he blew a save for the eighth time in 38 chances. He's just 4-for-7 on save opportunities this month.

Ernesto Frieri (2-4) threw a perfect eighth inning for the win. Dane De La Rosa pitched the ninth for his second save.

The Rays entered the game having committed only 46 errors, the second fewest in major league history through 129 games.

"I just missed that ball," Jennings said. "Every time you make an error, it stinks, especially in a situation like that."

Tampa Bay, the American League wild-card leader, suffered its third straight loss. Los Angeles (59-71) recorded its fourth straight win.

The Rays (74-56) have blown a lead in the seventh inning or later 15 times this season, losing 12 of those games.

"To permit that many runs late, we've done that way too many times this year," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We still have a fine record, whatever, we're in good shape, but that's the type of game we gave to stop giving away."

James Loney's two-run double off reliever Buddy Boshers in the sixth inning gave the Rays a 5-1 lead, but the Angels came back and scored three times in the seventh to pull within a run. However, Rays reliever Jake McGee struck out Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton in succession to end the inning with the tying run on first.

Angels starter C.J. Wilson allowed three runs on eight hits and five walks in five innings. Wilson entered the game 9-1 with a 2.63 ERA in his previous 13 starts.

Rays starter Roberto Hernandez was charged with three earned runs on eight hits in six innings. He struck out six.

Jose Molina's two-run double off Wilson gave the Rays a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning. Molina produced his second and third RBIs of the night when he followed a single by Sean Rodriguez and a Yunel Escobar double with a liner to the wall in left-center.

Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on Molina's RBI double to right field after Escobar and James Loney singled.

Los Angeles tied the game in the fourth on Trout's 23rd homer of the season, a liner hammered out to left-center off Hernandez.

NOTES: The Rays demoted struggling RHP Jeremy Hellickson to Class A Charlotte (Port Charlotte, Fla.) for a "little bit of a break," Maddon said. Hellickson has not lasted five innings in five of his last six starts, and he was removed in the third inning of his last outing. Maddon said Hellickson is not injured and that he may throw a bullpen session. Hellickson is expected to return by Sept. 2. LHP Jeff Beliveau was recalled from Triple-A Durham to work out of the bullpen. ... Hamilton was removed for Kole Calhoun in the ninth inning, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, because Hamilton had a tender shoulder from making numerous throws. ... Wilson tripped jogging to the mound before the second inning, leaped to his feet and pretended to duck before an imaginary sniper fired again. "At least there weren't a lot of people here to see it," he said, referring to the announced crowd of 12,939.