Matt Moore pitched into the sixth inning in his return from the disabled list, and the Tampa Bay Rays got home runs from Desmond Jennings and Yunel Escobar in a 7-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
Moore (15-3) won his seventh straight decision, yielding an unearned run and four hits in 5 1-3 innings as the Rays snapped a five-game losing streak and remained 5½ games behind AL East-leading Boston. The All-Star left-hander, who missed the entire month of August because of elbow soreness, won six straight starts before getting a no-decision his previous time out on July 28 at Yankee Stadium.
Roberto Hernandez struck out his first five batters after relieving Moore, and seven altogether in 3 2-3 perfect innings to record his first save in eight major league seasons. It was only his second relief outing since his rookie season with Cleveland in 2006.
Los Angeles left-hander Jason Vargas (8-6) was charged with five runs and 10 hits in four-plus innings. Vargas, who missed almost two months because of a blood clot under his armpit, is 2-2 with a 4.33 ERA in five starts since coming off the DL.
Jennings gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead, driving Vargas' second pitch of the third inning to left-center for his 12th homer this season and second RBI in 46 at-bats since coming off the DL on Aug. 19.
Vargas walked his next two batters and Delmon Young followed with a single that loaded the bases for James Loney, who came in with a major league-best .363 average on the road. Loney grounded into a 5-2-3 double play started by rookie Luis Jimenez and rookie Wil Myers struck out to end the inning.
Ben Zobrist increased the margin to 4-1 in the fourth with a two-out, two-run double. Moore got out of a jam in the bottom half, retiring rookie Grant Green on a popup with two men in scoring position.
Escobar hit his ninth home run on Juan Gutierrez's first pitch of the sixth inning, and Myers scored on a wild pitch by Joe Blanton in the seventh to make it 7-1.
The Angels got their run in the second when Erick Aybar led off with a double and scored on a throwing error by second baseman Zobrist, whose relay to first on a potential inning-ending double play got past Loney. It was Zobrist's second throwing error in his last five games, following an 81-game errorless streak at that position.
NOTES: The Rays' fourth-inning rally ended a stretch of 52 innings in which they had more than two hits only once. ... Myers, who began the game in a 2-for-31 rut, has no RBIs in 38 at-bats since his two-run single against Jim Johnson on Aug. 20 at Baltimore. His 37 RBIs are two fewer than Seattle 2B Nick Franklin for the most among AL rookies and two more than Angels LF J.B. Shuck. ... Rays 3B Evan Longoria is two strikeouts away from matching his career-high total of 140 in 2009. ... Angels C Chris Iannetta started in the second spot in the batting order for the first time in his eight-year career, and was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and a walk. Iannetta — the only player in the majors with more walks (62) than hits (57) and at least 100 at-bats — became the ninth different player manager Mike Scioscia has started in the two hole this season.