Providing Rays with hope

Shields's latest gem is 1-hitter against Angels

The Angels' Erick Aybar winces after being hit on the hand by a pitch from James Shields in the fourth inning. The Angels' Erick Aybar winces after being hit on the hand by a pitch from James Shields in the fourth inning. (Chris O'Meara/Associated Press)
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Associated Press / May 10, 2008

With James Shields pitching the way he is, the Tampa Bay Rays are beginning to believe anything is possible.

Shields pitched a one-hitter and Evan Longoria's two-run, ninth-inning homer snapped a scoreless tie and gave the Rays a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels last night in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The victory was Tampa Bay's 11th in 16 games and lifted the Rays, who have won four of their last five series, three games over .500 (19-16) this deep into a season for the first time in franchise history.

"We're expecting to win on a nightly basis," manager Joe Maddon said.

Shields (4-2) rebounded from the second-shortest outing of his career to post his second shutout in his past three starts.

The 26-year-old righthander limited the Angels to Brandon Wood's one-out single in the third and retired the last 17 batters he faced after hitting Erick Aybar with a pitch in the fourth.

Angels starter Jon Garland allowed no runs and four hits in eight innings. He walked three and struck out two before being replaced by Justin Speier (0-2), who gave up a single to B.J. Upton in the ninth.

Carlos Pena, who had two of Tampa Bay's hits off Garland, grounded to first base, moving Upton to second. Three pitches later, Longoria hit his fourth major league homer into the seats in left-center.

Shields, who tossed a two-hitter to beat the Red Sox, 3-0, at Tropicana Field April 27, struck out eight and walked none. He allowed seven runs and 10 hits in a 12-4 loss to the Red Sox last weekend, throwing 98 pitches in just 3 2/3 innings.

This time, he needed only 70 pitches to get through the first seven innings, limiting the Angels to two base runners.

Los Angeles, already playing without injured infielders Chone Figgins, Howie Kendrick, and Maicer Izturis, lost shortstop Aybar when he was hit by a pitch in the left pinkie leading off the fourth. X-rays were negative, and the Angels said Aybar is day-to-day with a bone bruise.

Tigers 6, Yankees 5 - Kenny Rogers pitched into the seventh and Ivan Rodriguez had three hits and drove in a pair of runs to help host Detroit beat New York.

Rodriguez drove in a pair of runs and Rogers (3-3) held the Yankees to two runs on nine hits before New York scored three runs off Todd Jones in the ninth.

Kei Igawa's season debut was a forgettable one for New York. He lasted just three-plus innings, allowing six runs on 11 hits.

Indians 6, Blue Jays 1 - Casey Blake and Ben Francisco hit two-run doubles in the seventh as C.C. Sabathia (2-5) and host Cleveland beat Roy Halladay (3-5) and Toronto in a duel of Cy Young Award winners.

Blue Jays center fielder Vernon Wells jammed his left wrist while making a catch and left in the sixth as Toronto lost for the 13th time in its last 14 games in Cleveland.

The Blue Jays failed to score more than five runs for the 22nd time in 23 games despite adding Kevin Mench and Brad Wilkerson. Mench, acquired from Texas for cash, went 0 for 2. Wilkerson, signed as a free agent, went 1 for 3.

Rangers 4, Athletics 0 - Scott Feldman and three relievers combined for Texas's third consecutive shutout and Brandon Boggs drove in three runs to help the Rangers beat visiting Oakland.

White Sox 4, Mariners 2 - Jose Contreras pitched seven sharp innings, Paul Konerko hit a two-run double, and visiting Chicago handed Seattle its ninth loss in 10 games.

Orioles 7, Royals 4 - Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora homered, Steve Trachsel earned his first victory since April 4, and visiting Baltimore beat Kansas City for the 11th straight time.

Phillies 7, Giants 4 - Reigning NL MVP Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run homer, an RBI double, and also singled in his first game since coming off the disabled list to lead visiting Philadelphia past San Francisco.

Rockies 4, Padres 2 - Garrett Atkins and Brad Hawpe hit consecutive bases-loaded singles off Jake Peavy in the sixth inning and visiting Colorado sent San Diego to its 18th loss in 22 games.

Cubs 3, Diamondbacks 1 - Ted Lilly surrendered a first-inning solo homer to Chris Young but struck out 10 and drove in the tying run with a fifth-inning single to lead Chicago over visiting Arizona.

Pirates 3, Braves 2 - Freddy Sanchez singled home Brian Bixler with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving Pittsburgh a win over Atlanta.

Marlins 7, Nationals 3 - Ricky Nolasco (2-3) pitched six strong innings, and Luis Gonzalez passed the 1,400 career RBIs mark with a bases-loaded double in Florida's victory at Washington.

Astros 7, Dodgers 1 - Lance Berkman went 3 for 4 with a home run as Houston routed host Los Angeles.

Brewers 4, Cardinals 3 - Rickie Weeks hit a two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth as Milwaukee beat St. Louis to snap a six-game losing streak.

The game between the Mets and the Cincinnati Reds in New York was postponed because of rain and will be made up today as part of a day-night doubleheader.

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