Shields, Longoria lift Rays over AngelsMay 10, 2008 - 4:35 AM ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- James Shields' last start was his worst of the season. On Friday, Shields rebounded with the best start of his career.
Shields tossed a one-hit shutout and rookie Evan Longoria hit a two-run home run in the ninth as the Tampa Bay Rays edged the Los Angeles Angels, 2-0. It was the Rays' record-tying seventh consecutive home victory.
B.J. Upton led off the ninth with a single and moved to second on Carlos Pena's groundout. Longoria then belted a 1-1 pitch over the left-field fence off reliever Justin Speier (0-2) and circled the bases, getting mobbed by his teammates at the plate.
"I was pumped," Longoria said. "But I was more pumped for Shields."
Shields (4-2) threw 92 pitches and did not issue a walk, finishing with eight strikeouts. He only allowed a single by Brandon Wood in the third inning in facing only 28 batters.
"Shields was spectacular from the first pitch to the last pitch," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.
The righthanded Shields was coming off his worst outing of the season when he allowed 10 hits and seven runs on May 3 at Boston.
"An outing like my last one was not so fun, this was fun," Shields said. "I was on my game."
The 26-year-old got stronger as the game went on. He struck out only two in the first 4 2/3 innings, but six the rest of the way.
Shields has thrown consecutive home shutouts, allowing only three hits in his last 18 innings at Tropicana Field.
"I think my first-pitch strikes were a lot better," Shields said. "When I can get ahead in the count early, I can go to my change earlier."
Longoria's fourth home run of the season came with one out in the ninth. The Rays improved their best start in franchise history to 19-16.
"I didn't think it was out," Longoria said. "I saw (left fielder Garrett) Anderson camp under it. A walk-off home run is the greatest feeling you can have in baseball."
"I just didn't have my location today," Speier said. "I made a bad pitch and he (Longoria) got a good swing on it. That's going to happen over the course of the season."
Shields' effort overshadowed a solid performance from Angels starter Jon Garland, who shut out the Rays on four hits in eight innings before yielding to Speier.
"Jon pitched a terrific game, but you know Shields really pitched well for those guys," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Jon matched him pitch for pitch and I really liked his stuff. Unfortunately, we couldn't get some runs to take advantage of it."
The Angels had only one runner reach second base in the first eight innings.
Garland matched Shields' pace, striking out two and walking one while escaping a pair of jams. In the fourth with two on and one out, Garland got Eric Hinske to ground into a double play to end the threat. In the eighth, Gabe Gross led off with a double but was stranded as Garland retired the next three batters on groundouts.
"We lost the game and to me (the performance) doesn't matter," Garland said.
Garland entered the game 3-0 with a 2.62 ERA in his previous five starts at Tropicana Field.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
LA ANGELS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 6 0 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: LAA - JON GARLAND, JUSTIN SPEIER (9TH) AND MIKE NAPOLI
TAM - JAMES SHIELDS AND DIONER NAVARRO
HOME RUNS: LAA - NONE
TAM - EVAN LONGORIA (4) OFF JUSTIN SPEIER IN TH
May 9 9:24 PM
AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY EVAN LONGORIA (4) TO LEFT WITH 1 OUT IN
THE 9TH OFF JUSTIN SPEIER SCORED B.J. UPTON.
FINAL SCORE: TAMPA BAY 2, LA ANGELS 0
Angels 0, Rays 2 Bot 9, 0 OutsMay 9 9:24 PM
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