ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays spotted the Los Angeles Angels a four-run sixth-inning lead before scoring the final nine runs of Friday's game unanswered, taking a 9-4 decision Friday at Tropicana Field.
Blake Snell struggled through one of his shortest outings of 2019, allowing two runs in the top of the first inning on a sacrifice fly by Albert Pujols and an RBI single by Cesar Puello. Shohei Ohtani made it 3-0 an inning later with a base hit that scored Jonathan Lucroy. Snell would exit one out into the fourth after a ground ball by David Fletcher that appeared to be destined to become a double play hit the second base bag and went for an infield single. Oliver Drake walked Mike Trout and got Ohtani to roll a pitch to short for what should have been another inning-ending double play, but Yandy Diaz could not squeeze the throw from Joey Wendle for an error, allowing Wilfredo Tovar to make it 4-0.
Tampa Bay did not record a hit off Angels starter Andrew Heaney until the fourth, when Wendle, playing in his first game since fracturing his wrist April 24, singled to load the bases with two out, though Mike Zunino popped out to end the threat.
Austin Meadows began the comeback in the sixth with a double off Heaney, snapping an 0 for 14 slump and ending the left-hander's evening. Luis Garcia was greeted by Diaz with a base hit, plating Meadows and cutting the deficit to 4-1. Ji-Man Choi pinch-hit for Adames and singled, but Brandon Lowe struck out, and Wendle flew to right for the second out of the inning, but Kevin Kiermaier, pinch-hitting for Zunino, singled in Diaz to make it 4-2, and after Guillermo Heredia was hit by a Ty Buttrey pitch to load the bases, Avisail Garcia tied the game with a base hit and Tommy Pham broke the tie with a single of his own.
The Rays added four more runs in the seventh thanks to a two-run blast by Choi, his eighth of the year, an RBI double by d'Arnaud, and another run-scoring single by Pham.
The five relief pitchers used by Tampa Bay -- Drake, Emilio Pagan, Colin Poche, Adam Kolarek, and Ryne Stanek -- allowed just three hits combined, including two infield singles off Kolarek, and a walk while striking out six in 5 2/3 innings of work. Pagan earned the win after getting the final out in the top of the fifth and working a perfect sixth inning.
The win, coupled with the Yankees losing again to the Chicago White Sox, puts Tampa Bay one-half game ahead in the American League East.
Tampa Bay Rays (42-27) vs. Los Angeles Angels (34-36), 1:10 pm first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at noon with The Inside Pitch.
Rays starter: RHP Charlie Morton (8-0, 2.10 ERA)
Angels starter: LHP Jose Suarez (1-1, 4.35 ERA)