ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Rookie Wil Myers hit two homers off Jered Weaver, and the Tampa Bay Rays kept pace in the AL wild-card race with a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.
Jeremy Hellickson (11-8) pitched scoreless ball into the sixth inning of his first victory in nearly six weeks for the Rays, who won their second straight after a five-game skid. Tampa Bay (77-61) stayed 2½ games ahead of the Yankees atop the wild-card standings and remained 5½ games behind Boston in the AL East.
Chris Iannetta hit a pinch-hit homer in the seventh for Los Angeles, which has lost 11 of 13 at home.
Weaver (9-8) yielded six hits over seven innings, but gave up two no-doubt shots to Myers, who hadn’t homered since Aug. 14.
Myers had never faced Weaver, but he homered on the first pitch he saw from the Angels’ longtime ace in the second inning. He homered again in the seventh on Weaver’s first pitch after a mound visit, driving a two-run shot into the Rays’ bullpen behind left field.
Fernando Rodney earned his 32nd save in the ninth while making his first appearance in a week for Tampa Bay, which has won two straight after a 1-8 skid.
Hellickson yielded four hits and two walks in his first start since spending a week in the minors to rediscover his form. The right-hander had allowed multiple runs in each of his previous six starts while going 0-5 with a 9.00 ERA, but he mostly avoided trouble from the Angels, who have lost two straight after winning nine of 10.
Myers is bouncing back from a rough stretch in August to stay in contention for the AL Rookie of the Year award alongside teammate Chris Archer, Texas’ Martin Perez and Angels leadoff hitter J.B. Shuck. Myers, who didn’t get called up to the majors until June 18, had his first multi-hit game in two weeks during Tampa Bay’s win on Tuesday night.
Myers’ first homer off Weaver also produced his first RBI since Aug. 20. He finished with his second multi-homer game of the season, also doing it July 28 at Yankee Stadium.
Iannetta connected off Jake McGee to lead off the seventh, hitting his third career pinch-hit homer and his first since Sept. 29, 2009. The Angels catcher hadn’t homered at home all season, hitting his other seven homers away from the Big A.
Josh Hamilton went 1 for 3 with a walk in his return to the Angels’ lineup. The $125 million designated hitter is struggling with sinus congestion.
NOTES: Iannetta hadn’t homered in Anaheim since Aug. 29, 2012. … Angels 2B Howie Kendrick still isn’t ready to return from a left knee injury that has kept him out for nearly a month. The former All-Star is running and taking grounders, but not ready to be “day to day,” manager Mike Scioscia said. Scioscia remains confident Kendrick will play again this season. … Tampa Bay RHP Robert Hernandez, who pitched 3 2-3 perfect innings of relief Tuesday night, is just the fourth pitcher in Rays history to record a save and a complete game in the same season. The Angels’ Garrett Richards is the only other major league pitcher to do it this season. … Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said nobody showed up at a Long Beach sports bar late Tuesday night to take advantage of his Twitter offer to buy a beer for anybody in Rays gear. Maddon blamed himself for sending out the offer far too late to find any fans. Still, 20-25 Rays players, coaches and personnel enjoyed the “Win or Weep” party until well after 1 a.m. Maddon, the former Angels coach, still has his home in the area.