|Canning, Angels face another test in finale vs. Rays|
Los Angeles Angels rookie right-hander Griffin Canning passed the biggest test of his young major league career in his last outing.
He'll turn around and face just as big of a challenge on Sunday afternoon in the finale of a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers are two of five major league teams with a winning percentage of at least .600 entering Sunday.
Canning (2-2, 3.65 ERA) took on the visiting Dodgers on Monday in his eighth major league start and gave up three runs and five hits in six innings. He struck out five and didn't walk a batter.
More importantly, he kept the Angels in the game long enough for them to come from behind and win 5-3 in front of 45,477 spectators, the largest crowd at the stadium since renovations were completed in 1998.
"He was outstanding," Angels manager Brad Ausmus told reporters afterward. "He continues to be un-intimidated by big league lineups, including a very good Dodger lineup."
Tampa Bay will be trying to avoid losing three of four in the series and five of six overall, a skid the Rays haven't experienced this season.
Another loss would also drop Tampa Bay to .500 at home.
"We've got to do a better job at home," Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters after a 5-3 loss to the Angels on Saturday. "We've done a lot of good things here, but not good enough. We've got to create this environment where other teams -- where it's a challenge to come in here and win games. We can change that."
Expect the Rays to be aggressive early in the game after falling behind 3-0 through two innings in each of their past three games. Tampa Bay rallied from a 4-0 deficit on Friday night to beat the Angels 9-4 for its only win in the recent skid.
"You're seeing two drastics right now," Cash said. "Probably what we saw earlier in the season was just a drastic that you're not going to score that many runs in the first and second (inning) only. And right now, what's taking place, a drastic on the other side. We need to even it out."
After getting shut out for five innings on Friday night against Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney, the Rays needed six innings to finally solve Angels rookie left-hander Jose Suarez on Saturday afternoon.
Yandy Diaz broke the shutout with one out in the sixth, slamming a three-run homer to cut the deficit to 4-3, but Los Angeles held on for a 5-3 victory, the same score of its previous three wins.
Tampa Bay plans to send Ryne Stanek to the mound in an opener role on Sunday. He pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief in the comeback win on Friday and hasn't allowed a run in his past four outings covering 4 2/3 innings.
Stanek (0-1, 2.54 ERA) will likely hand the ball off to Jalen Beeks in hopes he can handle the bulk of the innings.
--Field Level Media