ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Drew Rasmussen won his third consecutive start, Manuel Margot got four hits and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-3 Thursday to complete a four-game sweep.
The Angels lost their sixth in a row.
Rasmussen (9-4), who took a perfect game into the ninth inning and a no-hitter into the sixth in his previous two starts, gave up one run, six hits and struck out nine over 5 1 /3 innings.
There wasn’t any no-hit drama this time — Magneuris Sierra got the Angels’ first hit with a two-out triple in the second.
“I felt really good,” said Rasmussen, who threw 97 pitches. “It would have been nice to be a little more efficient. That’s how it goes unfortunately sometimes.”
Isaac Paredes hit a two-run homer during a five-run third for Tampa Bay, which has won 11 of 13 and holds the top AL wild-card spot. The Rays have allowed three runs or fewer in eight straight games, and 12 of 13.
“If we pitch, we’re going to win a lot,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said.
Taylor Ward hit a solo home run in the fourth for the Angels, who have lost nine of 10.
“We’ve got to be better all the way around,” Los Angeles interim manager Phil Nevin said.
Shohei Othani went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts against Rasmussen, fanning in a 10-pitch at-bat in the first. The 2021 AL MVP had an RBI double off Ryan Thompson in a two-run eighth.
Margot, who returned last weekend after missing two months because of a knee injury, tripled and doubled. He drove in two runs and scored twice.
“His at-bats were spectacular,” Cash said.
Patrick Sandoval (4-9) allowed five runs — one earned — and five hits over six innings in his first start since a four-hit shutout of Detroit last Friday.
Jose Siri opened the Rays third with a single and moved up when second baseman David Fletcher was charged with an error for an errant flip on Yandy Díaz’s grounder.
Margot hit a two-run triple and scored when shortstop Andrew Velazquez’s throw home on Harold Ramirez’s grounder with the infield in was off the mark.
“I thought Sandy threw the ball really, really well,” Nevin said. “We just made some mistakes behind him … Guys that don’t normally that. That happens, I know it does.”
Ramirez had a two-run single during a three-run seventh. He has a 11-game hitting streak since returning from a broken right thumb.
“As we get healthy, we get better and better,” Rasmussen said. “Our offense is in a good spot right now and it really helps our pitching staff.”
Mike Ford, selected by the Angels from Triple-A Salt Lake, singled twice in four at-bats. He has also played with San Francisco, Atlanta and Seattle this season.
Kazuhiro Nakai, the Consulate General of Japan in Miami, threw the ceremonial pitch as part of the 150th year celebration of Japanese baseball. After talking with Ohtani in front of the Los Angeles dugout, Nakai put on a Rays’ home jersey with No. 150 and a glove, and made his toss from the mound. Leaving the field, he hopped over the first-base line.
The rookie-level Florida Complex League championship series will feature the Rays and Yankees, and begins Friday.
Angels: CF Mike Trout had a scheduled day off. … 1B Jared Walsh was put on the injured list with thoracic outlet syndrome. … INF Mickey Moniak (broken left middle finger) is taking dry swings.
Rays: SS Wander Franco (hand soreness) will remain in St. Petersburg to work out through the weekend. … RHP Shane Baz (sprained right elbow) will resume playing catch Monday.
Angels: LHP Reid Detmers (4-4) and Toronto RHP Mitch White (0-1) are Friday night’s starters. A couple of Los Angeles players are not expected to make the trip because Canada prohibits visitors who are not vaccinated from entering the country.
Rays: LHP Ryan Yarbrough (1-7) will start or follow an opener Friday night against Boston RHP Michael Wacha (8-1).
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