Rays' bullpen steps up in 6-4 win and evens up series with the Los Angeles Angels

Tampa Bay's bullpen was great in a 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels to hold on for a big win to even the series in Anaheim.
Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Angels
Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Angels / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

The Tampa Bay Rays earned their sixth win on the season in Anaheim following a 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels. In the win, the Tampa Bay bullpen was huge in holding a lead once the Rays' bats got the team out in front and this was a huge spark for a staff that had not started the season off on the right foot like they wanted.

Following Tuesday night's matchup, the Rays' bullpen ranks at the very bottom of Major League Baseball in team ERA at 6.90. This has been quite unlike the Rays common formula of emphasizing picthing in order to win games.

Even in Monday's matchup in the series-opening loss to the Angels, the Tampa Bay bullpen represented by Jacob Waguespack gave up two runs on five hits and three walks to allow Los Angeles to separate themselves from the Rays on the way to a 7-1 win.

However, the bullpen flipped the script on Tuesday. Tampa Bay faced an early deficit due to a Mike Trout two-run home run in the first inning. However, the Rays' offense chipped away at the lead to end up leading 4-2 before the Angels scored on a Tampa Bay fielding error making it 4-3.

In the end, starting pitcher Aaron Civale gave the Rays' lots of good work in his Anaheim start by only giving up two earned runs. He also only walked one batter in his five innings of work.

Now, it was the bullpen's turn to defend the lead.

Phil Maton came on in the 6th inning and was masterful with only one walk and a strikeout in his relief outing. Colin Poche followed him up with just one walk and retired the Angels' hitters in just 11 pitches in the 7th inning. In the 8th inning, Jason Adam came next giving up one hit, but just like Poche, he was able to get the Los Angeles offense back in the dug out after 11 pitches.

The late-inning trio of Maton, Poche, and Adam did not give up a single run and the one hit Adam gave up was the only one the Angels were able to muster. They only allowed two walks between the three of them as well which is nice considering the Angels have been top ten in major league baseball in drawing walks this season.

The Rays' closer Pete Fairbanks came on in the 9th with Tampa Bay having already extended their lead out to 6-3. Despite giving up a run off of a Luis Rengifo RBI hit, Fairbanks eventually closed the game out giving up one walk and striking out two batters as well. The Rengifo hit was the only one he gave up in his 27-pitch inning. This lead to a 6-4 Rays win.

This one-run outing from the Tampa Bay bullpen was very encouraging especially considering just how poor the unit has done to start the season. They have a chance to build on it Wednesday night as the Rays and Angels matchup again with first pitch at 4:07 p.m. E.T. The pitching matchup will be Tampa Bay's Zack Littell going up against Los Angeles' Jose Soriano.