ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - The Los Angeles Angels used some late offense to extend their winning streak.
C.J. Wilson struggled, but the Angels rallied in the late innings to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-5 Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory.
Erick Aybar drove in four runs with a seventh-inning single and a ninth-inning double for the Angels, who were down 3-1 when Wilson left the game in the sixth inning, and 5-1 an inning later.
``I've got to be able to go longer than five innings. I put the team in a really bad position today,' said Wilson, who has lost only once in his past 14 starts.
``But we score runs, and we've got a lot of guys that are hungry and want to do some damage in these last few weeks of the season. Tampa Bay is on their way to the playoffs possibly, and if we can cause any disruptions, that's really the only thing we can do right now.'
Aybar's game-winning hit came off closer Fernando Rodney (5-4).
Peter Bourjos stole second and went to third when center fielder Desmond Jennings misplayed J.B. Shuck's fly ball for a two-base error. Aybar then followed with the key hit.
``You know Fernando's a good closer and you're going to see two pitches - a changeup and a fastball,' Aybar said after matching his career high with four RBIs.
``With a pitcher like Fernando you don't want to think too much. Just look for a pitch in the zone and make contact.'
After Ernesto Frieri (2-4) pitched a scoreless eighth, Dane De La Rosa got the final three outs for his second save.
``The execution's been better,' manager Mike Scioscia said of the Angels' longest win streak since late June-early July.
``They've been playing hard all year with not as much to show for it as we want. It's a good streak and hopefully we can keep it going.'
Wilson allowed three runs, eight hits and five walks over five innings.
``It's been a while since he's had a rough start and tonight was one of them,' Scioscia said.
``All those walks,' Wilson said. ``You give up base hits, it's no big deal because you're throwing strikes. But when you walk guys it's frustrating.'
It was more frustrating for the Rays, who got 17 of their first 34 batters on base against Wilson and two relievers, but left 12 men on base in the first six innings.
``I'm never comfortable with that - when you have all those opportunities to score a run and you let the other team up,' Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Jose Molina had three hits and three RBIs for Tampa Bay, which has lost three in a row. The Rays, leading the AL wild-card race, are 2 1/2 games behind AL East-leading Boston.
Tampa Bay went up 3-1 during the fifth on Molina's third straight hit off Wilson, a two-run double. James Loney made it 5-1 with a two-run single in the sixth.
Roberto Hernandez allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings. He left with two on and no outs in the seventh. Jake McGee entered and gave up a run-scoring grounder to J.B. Shuck and Aybar's two-run single that got the Angels within 5-4.
Mike Trout tied it at 1 in the fourth on his 23rd home run this season. It was his second homer in six at_bats against Hernandez, who struck out Trout with two on and two outs one inning later.
Molina put Tampa Bay up 1-0 on an RBI double in the second. Wilson avoided a big inning by getting an inning-ending bases-loaded fly ball from Ben Zobrist.
Tampa Bay's Wil Myers popped out with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth.
NOTES: Tampa Bay optioned struggling RHP Jeremy Hellickson to Class A Charlotte for extra rest. He is not expected to pitch in the minors and should rejoin the Rays early next month. ... Angels INF Howie Kendrick (left knee) continues running and taking grounders. ``We definitely expect him to play this year,' manager Mike Scioscia said. ... Wilson tripped running out to pitch in the second and fell to the ground between the third base line and the mound.
The Associated Press News Service
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