Angels crush four homers to sink Rays

Angels crush four homers to sink Rays

ANAHEIM -- Albert Pujols homered twice, and David Freese and Mike Trout also went deep, leading the Angels and their suddenly surging offense to a 7-3 victory over the Rays in Southern California on Monday night.

Pujois has hit five home runs over his last five games and is batting .375 since the start of last week, raising his batting average to .254.

"He's swinging it," Trout said of Pujols. "He's a machine. It's impressive to watch. He's a tough out. Even the balls he's getting out on are usually base hits with the shift."

Trout on Angels' win

The Angels, coming off a four-game sweep of the Tigers, have won a season-high five straight games to put them a season-best four games above .500 at 28-24. The Rays have dropped seven of their last nine and are now 26-26.

Alex Colome took the loss after giving up five runs on nine hits and three walks in six innings, putting his ERA at 5.05. Garrett Richards, who gave up a combined 10 runs (eight earned) in his last two starts, got the win after notching his seventh quality start in nine tries.

"I do like the at-bats we had against [Richards]," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Made him get the ball over the plate. But, you know, he's got electric stuff."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Pujols on his two home runs

A Machine: Pujols has resembled one of late. The star first baseman crushed a solo homer in the fifth and blasted a two-run shot into the Angels' bullpen in the eighth, giving him 13 homers on the year -- tied with Trout for the team lead -- and five over the last five games. During that span, the Angels have amassed 13 home runs.

"That's the team that we put together in Spring Training," Pujols said of an offense that was 29th in OPS as recently as Thursday morning. "Lately, you've seen the success we've been having, but that's something we know that we have here. Before you know it, we can put five runs, 10 runs on the board." More >

Butler's RBI single

Red-Hot Butler: Joey Butler batted .342 (25-for-73) in May, which ranked tops among Major Leagues rookies and established a Rays rookie record for May (minimum of 50 appearances). Butler got June started on a high note when he singled home a run in the third that tied the game at 1.

Richards' solid start

A little relief: Richards retired six straight batters to complete six innings with only three runs across, then gave up a leadoff single in the seventh and exited with a two-run lead. Jose Alvarez came in to face Kevin Kiermaier, Cash countered with Brandon Guyer, and Alvarez got Guyer to bounce into a 3-6 double play. Fernando Salas followed by retiring Butler, setting it up for Joe Smith in the eighth and Pujols' two-run shot in the eighth.

"You're gonna have nights when you have to battle," Richards said, "but you've got to do your job and you've got to go deep into games and you've got to give us a chance to win. Those are the only things on my mind when I step on the mound in the first inning. Tonight worked out, but I've still got to be better." More >

Franklin Goes Deep: With the Rays smarting from Trout's three-run homer in the third, Nick Franklin batted in the fourth with two outs and a man aboard. That's when the Rays infielder re-routed a 2-1 pitch from Richards and deposited the ball over the wall in right to cut the lead to 4-3. More >

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

Trout entered Monday's game with a remarkable .286/.314/.490 slash line on 0-2 counts, then got an 0-2 cutter from Colome and belted it over the left-center-field fence for his 13th home run in the third inning.

QUOTABLE

"Feel good. Missed three pitches. I miss it, they get it." -- Colome, on the three home runs he surrendered Monday night

"I don't think about that, dude. It's part of the game. They can do that a hundred more times. That doesn't matter to me. I've been on the other side." -- Pujols, on the Rays intentionally walking Trout to load the bases and face him in Monday's sixth inning

WHAT'S NEXT
Rays: Chris Archer will start for the Rays, at 10:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday, after a dominating eight-inning performance against the Mariners six days earlier. Facing Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, Archer rose to the occasion allowing no runs on two hits while striking out 12. He left prior to the ninth inning of a 0-0 game and came away with a no-decision. His 2.12 ERA is the best in club history through the end of May (minimum of 50 innings pitched).

Angels: C.J. Wilson takes the ball for the second of a two-game series at 7:05 p.m. PT, five days after pitching six innings of one-run ball despite five walks against the Tigers. Through the first two months, Wilson (3-3, 3.18 ERA) ranked second only to Mike Trout for the team lead in Wins Above Replacement, according to FanGraphs. The 34-year-old left-hander has a 3.67 ERA in 73 2/3 career innings against the Rays.

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Bill Chastain and Alden Gonzalez are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.