Angels Use Homers To End Morton's Unbeaten Streak

ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- The Los Angeles Angels used home runs by David Fletcher and Justin Bour to take an early lead, and a late blast from Kevan Smith to hold on and give Charlie Morton his first defeat in nearly a full calendar year, a 5-3 decision Saturday at Tropicana Field.

Morton suffered a hiccup in his command at the start of the second inning, walking Smith to start the frame, and when Brian Goodwin's flare bounced over both Kevin Kiermaier and Tommy Pham's head, allowed the catcher to score from first base on what would be scored as a double. David Fletcher followed by backspinning an 0-2 pitch into the front row in left for his fifth home run of the year and a 3-0 advantage.

Bour added a solo homer off Morton in the fourth, taking a 1-2 pitch to the opposite field for his sixth homer of the season.

Tampa Bay rallied in the sixth inning for the second straight day, cutting the deficit to 4-3 as Avisail Garcia and Pham each singled off Angels starter Jose Suarez to start the inning, and two batters later, Yandy Diaz unleashed his 11th home run of the year, a three-run blast to right-center.

 

But Suarez got Ji-Man Choi to ground out, and reliver Cam Bedrosian struck out WIlly Adames to prevent Tampa Bay from getting any closer.

Smith gave the Angels some insurance in the eighth, with a solo homer off reliever Jake Faria, just recalled from Durham, his second home run of the year.

Morton suffers his first defeat since August 11, 2018 against Seattle with the Houston Astros, a stretch of 21 consecutive unbeaten starts.

The loss means Tampa Bay can only remain atop the American League East if the New York Yankees again fall to the Chicago White Sox.

SUNDAY'S MATCHUP

Tampa Bay Rays (42-28) vs. Los Angeles Angels (35-36), 1:10 pm first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 11:00 am with The Inside Pitch.

Rays starter: RHP Ryne Stanek (0-1, 2.54 ERA)

Angels starter: RHP Griffin Canning (2-2, 3.65 ERA)

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