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Rays blank Angels 4-0

Matt Andriese allowed six hits over eight innings, Colby Rasmus drove in four runs and the Tampa Bay Rays salvaged a split of a four-game series with Los Angeles by beating the Angels 4-0 on Thursday.

Andriese (5-1) improved to 4-0 over his last five starts, holding the Angels to 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Los Angeles threatened in five innings against the right-hander.

Rasmus had a pair of key two-out hits with the bases loaded: a two-run single in the first and a fifth-inning double that made it 4-0.

Tommy Hunter got three outs to complete a six-hitter.

Daniel Wright (0-1), recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill in for the injured Alex Meyer, allowed four runs — two earned — and six hits in 4 1/3 innings for the Angels, who had won the first two games of the series. Los Angeles finished 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.

Meyer, placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday with back spasms, could return next week.

Mike Trout doubled in the first but was thrown out by right fielder Steven Souza Jr. on Andrelton Simmons‘ two-out single.

Trout went 1 for 4 as the designated hitter and was 4 for 14 in the series with three doubles and a home run. The 2016 AL MVP has reached base in 42 of his 44 games this season.

Cameron Maybin, who started in center field, left after five innings with right knee soreness.

PUJOLS POINTS

Angels DH Albert Pujols, who played the first three games of the series after missing three games with right hamstring soreness, was rested. Manager Mike Scioscia said a decision will be made daily on whether Pujols starts at first base during the three-game interleague series at Miami.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: Hunter (strained right calf) was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list and RHP Jumbo Diaz (right arm fatigue) went on the 10-day DL. … RHP Brad Boxberger (right flexor strain) is to throw batting practice Monday.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Chris Archer (3-3) goes against Minnesota LHP Hector Santiago (4-2) on Friday night.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

Tampa Bay Rowdies unbeaten run ends with 1-0 loss to Rochester Rhinos

The Tampa Bay Rowdies’s four-match unbeaten run in the USL ended on Wednesday night with a 1-0 road loss to the Rochester Rhinos at Capelli Sport Stadium.

The Rhinos’ Wal Fall scored the only goal of the match in the 27th minute, putting in his own rebound after Tampa Bay goalkeeper Matt Pickens made the initial save.

“We’ve been on a real good run of late and it’s disappointing it’s come to an end tonight,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “I think the way we started the game cost us. We started the game too slow. Their first shot on goal they managed to get a goal ahead and it was hard for us to claw back.”

Tampa Bay conceded the first goal of the match last Friday to Toronto FC II, but turned the result around in the second half to win 3-1. Sadly, Wednesday’s match wouldn’t follow the same script.

“I think it was a game of very few chances,” Campbell said. “Neither team created that many clear-cut chances. Off the top of my head, I can think of only one clear-cut chance for us, when (Martin Paterson) couldn’t direct a header in the goal.”

For the Rowdies (6-2-3 (W-T-L), 20 points), it was their fourth game in 12 days. In comparison, the Rhinos (3-3-1, 12 points) were playing just their seventh game all year. Though the matches are piling up for the Rowdies with few rest days available, fatigue didn’t get the best of Tampa Bay on Wednesday night.

“We’re on a long stretch of games, but I don’t think that played a factor tonight,” Campbell said. “I think the way we moved the ball, we looked really fit and really strong, even in the final minutes when we pressed and pressed for the equalizer.”

Tampa Bay looked out of sync in the loss, recording just five shots all night, including only one on target. The Rhinos only recorded two of target, both of which were within five seconds of one another.

It was a staunch defensive performance for the Rowdies, not allowing a shot on except for those few seconds that created the goal, but the offensive unit was not on the same page. Martin Paterson had Tampa Bay’s best offensive chance of the night in the 76th minute, heading a cross from the left wing just wide of target.

“It’s very disappointing to lost tonight,” Rowdies center back Neill Collins said. “The manner of the defeat was probably the most disappointing thing. We came here with good intentions, but never quite got going in the first half. … I don’t think it was much of a game, in terms of quality of football. We  tried to pass the ball in the second half, but couldn’t break them down. Credit to them, they were very well organized.”

Tampa Bay center back Damion Lowe, who has played every minutes of the Rowdies’ 12 matches this season in all competitions, received his fifth yellow card of the year in the second half, meaning he’ll be suspended from the Rowdies’ next match.

The Rowdies return home on Memorial Day Weekend to face Saint Louis FC at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday, May 27.

Stephen Souza, Jr. homers twice in Rays’ 5-2 win over Angels

Steven Souza Jr. homered twice to rally the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

Colby Rasmus also went deep for the Rays and Erasmo Ramirez pitched six strong innings in his third start of the season.

Albert Pujols hit his 597th career home run, a two run shot in the first for the Angels. It was his sixth of the season.

Ramirez (3-0) gave up four hits and walked one while striking out two. Alex Colome got the last three outs for his 12th save.

Souza tied it with a two-run homer off Ricky Nolasco (2-4) in the second. Back-to-back doubles by Corey Dickerson and Kevin Kiermaier put the Rays up 3-2 in the third.

Rasmus led off the seventh with another home run and Souza, who came into the game in an 8-for-67 slump, followed with his second of the game and seventh of the season.

Nolasco gave up five runs on seven hits, including three homers, in six innings. He has given up 16 homers this season.

Trout doubled in his first two at bats, giving him 409 extra-base hits, tied with Ken Griffey Jr. for second-most among players through their age-25 season. Thirty of Trout’s 52 hits this season have been for extra bases.

Pujols needs three more homers to become the ninth player to reach 600 homers, and 12 more to tie Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.

Evan Longoria became Tampa Bay’s all-time leader in walks when he drew his 543rd from Nolasco in the third.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: Closer Huston Street (right lat strain) and RHP Matt Morin (neck tightness) threw perfect innings in a rehab assignment at Triple-A Salt Lake. Morin struck out two.

Rays: RHP Diego Moreno (right shoulder bursitis) was placed on the 10-day disabled list and RHP Ryan Garton was recalled from Triple-A Durham. … RHP Tommy Hunter (right calf strain) could be reinstated from the disabled list in the next few days.

UP NEXT

Angels: RHP Daniel Wright (0-0) will replace RHP Alex Meyer as Thursday’s starter against Tampa Bay. Manager Mike Scioscia is hopeful that Meyer, who went on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday with mid-back stiffness, will return next week.

Rays: RHP Matt Andriese (4-1), ejected in the sixth inning Saturday for hitting New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge with a pitch, goes against Wright.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

Angels shut out Rays 4-0

Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout hit back-to-back home runs to begin the game, Matt Shoemaker won his third consecutive start and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-0 on Tuesday night.

Maybin led off by homering on a 3-1 pitch from Alex Cobb. Trout connected on the next pitch for his 15th homer, including seven in his last 11 games.

Shoemaker (4-2), coming off victories over Detroit and the Chicago White Sox, gave up three hits, three walks and struck out five in 6 1/3 innings. He has won all four career starts against the Rays.

Los Angeles has won seven of nine. The Rays have lost three in a row after a season-high four-game winning streak.

Cobb (4-4) allowed four runs and seven hits over 7 1/3 innings.

Trout has a hit in 25 of his last 29 games, and has reached base in 40 of his 42 games this season. He moved past Troy Glaus into sole possession of fourth place on the Angels’ career home run list with 183.

Shoemaker had allowed just a bunt single and a pair of walks until Logan Morrison had a one-out double in the seventh. After Tim Beckham walked, Colby Rasmus hit a single off the right field wall that loaded the bases.

Yusmeiro Petit replaced Shoemaker and worked out of the jam by striking out both Steven Souza Jr. and Derek Norris. Petit and Jose Alvarez, who entered with one out in the eighth, combined to strike out all five batters they faced.

Keynan Middleton pitched the ninth to complete a three-hitter.

Luis Valbuena had an RBI single in a two-run eighth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: DH Albert Pujols singled in four at-bats and is 1 for 7 after missing three games with right hamstring soreness.

Rays: C Wilson Ramos (right knee surgery) threw to the bases for the first time and could be ready for a minor league rehab assignment in the next week. “Feeling really close,” said Ramos, who was an NL All-Star last year with Washington. He has been hitting and catching bullpens. … 2B Brad Miller (abdominal strain) took grounders but hasn’t started running. … RHP Tommy Hunter (strained right calf) allowed two runs, three hits and struck out three over one inning in his first game with Class A Charlotte.

UP NEXT

Angels RHP Ricky Nolasco (2-3) and Rays RHP Erasmo Ramirez (2-0) are Wednesday night’s starting pitchers.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

Tampa Bay will host Super Bowl LV in 2021

The NFL has awarded Super Bowl LV to Tampa Bay after stadium construction delays in Los Angeles required the league to move back their opportunity by one year. The league’s owners voted unanimously for the move to Raymond James Stadium.

“From our standpoint, we felt this was an appropriate thing to do,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We were fortunate that Tampa had a very competitive presentation when they bid on the Super Bowl earlier (in 2016). So this was a solution the membership got on very quickly.”

Los Angeles will now host the 2022 game, but the Tampa Bay area will relish the chance to again welcome one of the most prestigious, and lucrative, sporting events in the world.

“The Tampa Bay area has enjoyed great success over the years hosting Super Bowls and we look forward to working with our local leaders in the coming months to meet the requirements for hosting Super Bowl LV in 2021,” said Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer in a statement.

The overwhelming success Tampa enjoyed hosting the 2017 College Football National Championship certainly did not hurt the city’s and the region’s effort to land this marquee event. Tampa Bay received numerous accolades for the way they pulled off a similar, though slightly smaller, football event.

Tampa Stadium hosted Super Bowls in 1984 and 1991, while Raymond James Stadium welcomed participants in 2001 and 2009. Hosting the game derives an economic impact of up to $800 million, according to P.J. Johnston, NFL spokesman for Super Bowl 50.

Whatever that amount turns out to be will be complimented by the entire world watching on television and seeing the many sights of Tampa Bay.

 

USF seeks to knock off regular season champ UCF in AAC baseball tourney

The American Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament begins today in Clearwater. Spectrum Field will host the 8-team event featuring the Central Florida Knights and the South Florida Bulls.

Top-seeded UCF, who took two of three from USF to take the regular season title, will take on the number 8 seed East Carolina Pirates beginning at 7:00 p.m. The fourth-seeded Bulls will face the fifth seed, the Tulane Green Wave, beginning at 3:30 p.m.

The tournament runs through Sunday with the championship game slated for noon.

Both USF and UCF are in good position to receive invitations to the NCAA Tournament no matter how they fare over the next few days. The Knights carry a 38-18 record into the tournament and have a current national ranking of 21st, according to the Ratings Percentage Index. The Bulls are 40-15 with an RPI rating of 18.

UCF earned the regular season title and top seed the hard way last weekend. After dropping the opener of the season’s final series against USF on Thursday, the Knights stormed back to win the final two games to earn a share of the title with Houston. UCF beat the Cougars two out of three earlier in the season to earn the tie breaker.

Following Saturday’s season finale, Knights’ first-year coach Greg Lovelady was understandably emotional.

“It’s been an awesome day. I’ll never forget it,” said Lovelady, the AAC Coach of the Year. “I’m proud of these kids.”

Just one year ago, UCF finished at the bottom of the AAC standings.

The Bulls, under Coach Mark Kingston, may be the fourth seed, but have more than enough to take the tournament crown.  They won 6 of the 9 games they played against UCF and Houston.

They lost 2 of 3 to the third-seeded Connecticut Huskies. All four teams could earn a bid to the tournament.

Houston has an RPI ranking of 24 and UConn is number 39. A total of 64 teams will be chosen with the tournament winner receiving an automatic bid.

If both the Bulls and Knights win on Tuesday, they will meet for the seventh time this season on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. They would also play each other should both lose their games on Tuesday.

Both of today’s games featuring the Knights and the Bulls will be televised over the CBS Sports Network (not the regular CBS).

Tampa Bay signs first-round draft pick O.J. Howard

Tight end O.J. Howard has signed his rookie contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Howard, who was the 19th overall pick in last month’s NFL draft, signed a four-year deal on Monday that includes a team option for a fifth season. He is the first of Tampa Bay’s six draft picks to sign.

Howard, who is 6-foot-6 and 251 pounds, was a third-team Associated Press All-America selection last season. He started 12 of Alabama’s 14 games last season and had 45 receptions for 595 yards and three touchdowns.

The drafting of Howard and signing DeSean Jackson in free agency should give Jameis Winston more options in Tampa Bay’s passing game.

The Buccaneers also announced that defensive end Jacquies Smith has signed his restricted free agent tender.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Sources: Magic hire Jeff Weltman to head basketball operations

The Orlando Magic have reached for an unknown to fill the role of president of basketball operations.

A person familiar with the negotiations says the Magic have agreed to hire Toronto general manager Jeff Weltman to head up the basketball operations. The person, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced, said Monday night the two sides have agreed to a deal.

Weltman, who has also worked in the front offices of Milwaukee and Denver, comes to the Magic with no experience as head of basketball operations. He was the Raptors’ vice president of basketball operations for four years before taking over last September as GM under team president Masai Ujiri.

Weltman will report directly to Magic president Alex Martins.

Weltman’s first major hire will be to find a replace for Rob Hennigan as general manager after he was fired last month because he failed to put the team into the playoffs in his five years on the job. It had been speculated the Magic would pursue Cleveland GM David Griffin but with the hire of Weltman it seems unlikely that Griffin would make a lateral move.

Matt Lloyd, who has been the interim general manager since Hennigan was fired, is a candidate for the permanent job. He has been heavily involved in the upcoming NBA Draft where the Magic currently hold the No.6 overall pick.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

Wild pitch helps Angels beat Rays 3-2

Jefry Marte scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch in the seventh inning to help the Los Angeles Angels beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Monday night.

The Angels, who have won six of eight, pushed across the run without a hit in the seventh inning against Tampa Bay relievers Jumbo Diaz (0-3) and Ryne Stanek. After walking Mike Trout intentionally to load the bases with two out, Stanek threw a ball in the dirt while facing Albert Pujols, allowing Marte to score easily.

Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison homered off Angels starter J.C. Ramirez for Tampa Bay’s only two runs.

Dickerson’s 12th home run, and his sixth in six games, came on his 28th birthday. Morrison’s 12th homer was his seventh of the month.

Andrelton Simmons drove in the Angels’ first run with a sacrifice fly in the first inning after an infield hit by Cameron Maybin and two walks.

Maybin hit his second home run for the Angels, tying the game at 2-2 in the fifth.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi gave up two runs on five hits while striking out eight in six innings.

Ramirez (4-3) struck out five while giving up two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander has given up only 12 earned runs in his last six starts.

Bud Norris got the final four outs for his ninth save.

Trout, who has reached base in 39 of 41 games this season, walked twice and struck out twice in five plate appearances.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: Closer Huston Street (right lat strain) could be nearing a minor league rehab assignment. Street has been pitching at extended spring training. . . . RHP Cam Bedrosian (groin) had a light mound session, his first since going on the disabled list April 22. . . . RHP Doug Fister, signed Saturday, is long tossing at extended spring training. He was a free agent after going 12-13 in 32 starts for Houston last year.

Rays: 3B Evan Longoria, who has been battling foot problems, had a “get off his feet” day as a DH. . . . SS Matt Duffy (Achilles surgery) hopes to start a rehab assignment this week.

UP NEXT

RHP Matt Shoemaker (3-2, 4.47) will pitch for the Angels on Tuesday night against Rays RHP Alex Cobb (3-2, 3.16). Both will be trying to become the first pitcher for either the Angels or Rays to win three straight starts this season.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

Yanks avoid sweep with 3-2 win over Rays

Yankees manager Joe Girardi couldn’t help but smile when talking about 5-foot-11 Brett Gardner going deep again and 6-foot-7 Aaron Judge making an unbelievable diving catch.

Gardner hit his eighth home run, one more than this 2016 total, and CC Sabathia won consecutive starts for the first time in nearly a year to help New York beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 Sunday and avoid a three-game sweep.

Didi Gregorius had an RBI single in the second for the second of his four hits and Gardner followed with his drive to right. All of Gardner’s home runs have come in a 20-game span starting April 19.

“It sounds a little crazy, but last year I was really inconsistent and just not at my best,” Gardner said. “The first three or four weeks this season I wasn’t any good, either. Here recently I’ve been swinging the bat better.”

Judge made a full extension diving backhand catch on the right field warning track in the sixth to rob Evan Longoria of a tying extra-base hit, starting a double play that doubled up Corey Dickerson at first.

“Obviously, one of the biggest plays for us this year,” Sabathia said.

Judge said he had a good read on the ball off the bat.

“Saw I might have a chance, and just dove for it,” he added.

Sabathia (4-2), coming off a win at Kansas City, allowed two runs and four hits in five-plus innings. He had not won back-to-back starts since June 10 against Detroit and six days later at Minnesota.

Tyler Clippard stranded Kevin Kiermaier at third in the seventh when he relieved Chad Green and retired Logan Morrison on a flyout on the 11th pitch of an at-bat. Dellin Betances got four outs — three on strikeouts — for his second save.

Chris Archer (3-3) struck out a season-high 12, including Judge and Matt Holliday three times each. He gave up three runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings.

“The play that Judge made was really the difference-maker,” Archer said.

Judge struck out four times overall and the Yankees fanned 17 times, which tied the team record for a nine-inning game. Still, New York won for just the fourth time in 11 games.

Dickerson scored from second in the first inning when catcher Gary Sanchez was charged with an error for an errant throw attempting to pick off Longoria at first base.

Derek Norris hit a solo homer in the fifth.

There was no carry over from Saturday’s game that had three hit batters and three ejections.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: 1B Greg Bird (bruised right ankle) could hit off a tee and take soft toss Monday. … Girardi said closer Aroldis Chapman (left shoulder rotator cuff inflammation) feels good and will be re-evaluated Monday to determine when the lefty can start a throwing program. … Girardi had an ice pack on his right knee after the game. He had meniscus surgery on it Monday.

STRANGE POSTPONEMENT

Charlotte, the Rays’ Florida State League affiliate, had its game Saturday against Jupiter postponed in the fourth inning when the protective netting behind the plate fell. The teams played a doubleheader on a back field Sunday at the complex in Port Charlotte, where the host Stone Crabs had a photo on their Twitter site showing complimentary hot dogs and burgers on a portable grill.

Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (3-2) and Los Angeles Angels RHP J.C. Ramirez (3-3) are Monday night’s starters. Angels OF Mike Trout is a .362 hitter in 13 games at Tropicana Field.

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.

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