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Shane McClanahan impresses again as Rays beat Angels

Two homers by Austin Meadows lead an opportunistic offense that took advantage of Los Angeles errors to log a third straight win.
Rays starting pitcher Shane McClanahan throws to the plate during the first inning of Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.
Rays starting pitcher Shane McClanahan throws to the plate during the first inning of Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. [ MARK J. TERRILL | Associated Press ]
Published May 5
Updated May 5

Shane McClanahan put on another show Tuesday.

And the Rays put up another win, beating Joe Maddon’s Angels 8-3.

The hard-throwing lefty from USF dazzled again in his second big-league start, showing off his blazing fastball and biting slider in working four shutout innings.

McClanahan allowed two hits and two walks, retiring 10 straight in one stretch, striking out five, while throwing 44 of 63 pitches for strikes.

“He was very good again,” manager Kevin Cash said.

The Rays then turned to another of their top young arms, with Luis Patino working three innings, allowing only a homer to Mike Trout.

“Really good performances,” Cash said. “And just the amount of experience they’re gaining on the fly really quick, especially facing this lineup and who’s in it, that’ll make you mature really quick because you’ve got to be on your game to have success against their group of hitters.”

Cody Reed and Hunter Strickland finished as the Rays won their third straight and climbed back above .500 at 16-15. The Rays also improved to 30-12 in Anaheim since the start of 2010 and assured, at the least, a 12th non-losing series in their last 13.

Austin Meadows, a day late for a birthday bash, as he turned 26 on Monday, led the way offensively for the Rays with two homers — a solo shot in the seventh and a three-run blast in the eighth — giving him a team-leading seven, and five RBIs.

“I was saying I should have hit these (Monday),” Meadows said. “It’s crazy. Glad I was able to do that. A little celebration. Hit one back at the Trop a couple days ago, too. So I was just looking at a broader span, not just one day.”

The eight runs, their most since April 21, were welcome for a Rays offense that has been better of late but still not fully clicking. And they came with help from the poor-fielding Angels, who made four errors to push their American League-leading total to 29, and made several other misplays.

Ex-Ray Alex Cobb, reunited with Maddon after a February trade from Baltimore, started and lost for the Angels, working five innings.

The Rays are handling McClanahan, who just turned 24, cautiously by limiting his workload, and he has made the most of his limited opportunity.

He clocked five pitches at 100 mph (with a high of 100.6, twice in the first inning), and six others at 99. He got 10 swing-and misses. He struck out both of the Angels’ biggest names, Trout and Albert Pujols, and made two-way standout Shohei Ohtani look bad in swinging at a slider before he flied out in the third.

As has been his style, McClanahan said his focus is on putting the team in position to win more than any individual goal, and he grades himself on a tough scale.

“I felt pretty good with all my pitches,” he said. “I think I made some mistakes, got lucky on some pitches, but I also made some good pitches.”

McClanahan said when he’s on the mound he doesn’t think of who is in the batter’s box. But afterward, he allowed that to have K’s of Trout and Pujols on his pitching log was pretty cool.

“You’re looking at two future first-ballot Hall of Famers, the best to ever do it, so obviously, I think it’s a cool experience,” he said. “But in the moment, you’re not really looking at that. You’re looking at how am I going to get them out?”

The Rays took a 1-0 lead in the first thanks to some shoddy defense by the Angels.

Manuel Margot reached with two outs when shortstop Jose Iglesias booted his grounder, then scored from first — thanks to his aggressive running and a good read and send by third base coach Rodney Linares — when Brandon Lowe’s hard grounder was, literally, kicked by second baseman David Fletcher.

“An unbelievable play by Manny,” Cash said. “We probably don’t deserve to get that run if Manny’s not busting and Rodney’s not locked in.”

The Rays made it 2-0 in the fifth when they took advantage of another Angels mistake. Randy Arozarena led off the fifth with a single off Cobb, then stole second and went straight to third when catcher Max Stassi made an errant throw. That allowed Arozarena to score on Meadows’ groundout to the right side.

Meadows found that at-bat as satisfying at the homers.

“Even though it was a groundout ‚I felt like for me I was grinding through the at-bat, I got to 3-2, I was able to kind of get the job done,” he said. “That’s the thing about baseball, you just never know. You never know what part, what day you might start start hitting or feel locked in or stuff like that. So for me, I’ve just been trying to continue my work, and I was able to put the barrel on to get pitches to hit tonight and get them out the park.”

The Rays doubled their lead in the sixth. Yandy Diaz, continuing his recent roll, and Joey Wendle singled off ex-Ray Steve Cishek. Another defensive misplay, a passed ball by Stassi, with one out allowed the runners to move up. And a bouncing ball by Kevin Kiermaier, who fouled off three pitches at 3-2, that somehow got between Fletcher and first baseman Pujols scored both.

“That was unbelievable,” Meadows said. “To foul off that many pitches and be able to put the ball in play ... it’s just a selfless approach.”

After the Angels closed to 4-1 on Trout’s homer off Patino in the sixth, the Rays got a run back when Meadows hit his team-leading sixth homer to lead off the seventh. Meadows struck again with a three-run shot in the eighth.

The starting pitching matchup of McClanahan and Cobb came with an interesting connection.

Cobb came up with the Rays and pitched six seasons in Tampa Bay, going 48-35, 3.50 in 115 starts and missing the 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery. He left the Rays after the 2017 season and eventually signed a big-bucks, free-agent deal with the Orioles, getting $57 million over four years.

The Rays got an additional pick in the 2018 draft as compensation for losing Cobb and used that pick, No. 31 overall, to select McClanahan, the hard-throwing lefty from USF.

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