(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays try to lock down their fifth straight
home series win on Thursday when they play the rubber match of their three-
game set with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Tropicana Field.
Tampa put the brakes on a three-game losing streak on Wednesday, as Chris
Archer pitched seven strong innings to propel the Rays to a 4-1 win.
Archer (8-5) gave up a run on five hits with five strikeouts while David
DeJesus had two hits, scored twice and drove in a run for the Rays, who lead
the AL wild-card by one-half game over Oakland, but sit 2 1/2 games behind
first-place Boston in the AL East.
"The key overall was the exquisite defense," Archer said. "We made some
awesome plays, which saved me pitches, which allowed me to throw a few more
pitches than I wanted to in the seventh and still stay in the game."
Kole Calhoun drove in the lone run for the Angels, who had a four-game winning
streak stopped. Garrett Richards (4-6) was charged with all four runs in just
3 1/3 innings.
"His first pitch strike ratio was awful and his ball/strike ratio was awful,"
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Heading to the hill for the Rays on Thursday will be Jake Odorizzi, who will
be recalled from Triple-A to stat in place of the ineffective Jeremy
Hellickson was demoted to the minors on Wednesday.
Odorizzi pitched to a 6.00 ERA in four appearances with the Rays earlier in
the year, but went 9-6 with a 3.33 ERA in 22 starts in the minors this season.
"He's been pitching well," manager Joe Maddon told the Rays' official website.
"We thought that would be the right thing to do there."
Los Angeles, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Jason Vargas, who is 7-5 with
a 3.77 ERA. Vargas beat the Seattle Mariners on Saturday, holding his former
team to a run and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.
"It was great to see him get into the seventh and get to 100 pitches," said
Scioscia. "He maintained his stuff. He pitched and I think that's when he's at
Vargas is 2-3 lifetime versus the Rays with a 3.23 ERA in seven games (6
Los Angeles has won just two of its last 15 meetings with Tampa Bay.
The Sports Network