ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - Vernon Wells can't come back soon enough for the Los Angeles Angels. Neither can the rest of their offense.
The Angels managed just five hits in a 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night, dropping their third in a row and fifth in six games.
Wells has been on the disabled list for nearly a month with a strained right groin. But he made his second rehab start on Monday night, and manager Mike Scioscia was optimistic that he'll be back in the lineup on Tuesday.
``He's obviously a big part of what we project is going to be a deeper lineup that will support our terrific pitching, and he's also important on the defensive end,' Scioscia said. ``We're doing what we can, but we're still not playing the consistent baseball that we can, even without him.'
Jeff Mathis' RBI single in the eighth drove in the Angels' run.
Tyler Chatwood (3-3) gave up nine hits and five runs in seven innings. The right-hander struck out a career-high-tying five and walked one for the Angels, who have been limited to three runs or less in 17 of their last 30 games, including each of the last six.
Torii Hunter doubled in the fourth, snapping an 0-for-18 streak, but he wasn't talking afterward.
``Torii's frustrated because of the burden he takes personally for hitting in the middle of this lineup and leading these youngsters,' Scioscia said. ``And he's frustrated when he's not at his peak, and right now he's had some rough edges the last couple of games.'
The Angels had their first pregame closed-door meeting of the season. ``Total pep talk,' Scioscia said. ``There are some guys in that room who are frustrated.'
Howie Kendrick didn't want to discuss the Angels' anemic offense, either.
``We'll definitely be better as a team (with Wells), but you can't put a lot of weight on two guys,' he said. ``When we're all in sync, that's when we're playing our best baseball. Everybody's got to be playing well - not just me, not Vernon, not Torii, not Bobby (Abreu). The pitching's been good all year, so we've just got to put up some runs and turn things around. We're in a little bit of a rut right now.'
With a stomach bug sweeping Tampa Bay's clubhouse, Justin Ruggiano powered the Rays' offense by homering and driving in three runs while David Price took a shutout into the eighth inning.
Price (7-5) allowed five hits and one run in seven-plus innings, struck out seven and walked none. The left-hander struck out the side in the fifth.
The Rays took a 2-0 lead in the first on Matt Joyce's sacrifice fly and Ruggiano's RBI single.
Ruggiano hit his second homer of the season to extend the Rays' lead to 4-0. He sent a 3-2 pitch from Chatwood into the Rays' bullpen in left field.
``I wanted to challenge him and not walk him, so I just went after him,' Chatwood said. ``It ran over the plate a little bit and he connected.'
Joyce's RBI single in the seventh made it 5-0.
Notes: Chatwood has gone seven-plus innings in four of his last six outings. ... Rays 3B Evan Longoria sat out because of the flu bug. ... Maddon caught the first pitch from former Angel Rick Reichardt as part of the team honoring its alumni before each home game. Maddon was a coach under Scioscia before going to the Rays.
The Associated Press News Service
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