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LAA@TB: Kendrick ties the game with an RBI groundout

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Lately, with the Angels' offense, it has been either feast or famine.

On Saturday afternoon, it was the latter. That fact was especially painful to handle when a pair of ninth-inning errors allowed the Angels to score the tying run, but the team couldn't push another tally across.

Any momentary lift the rally gave them was taken away in the bottom of the 10th inning, when closer Fernando Rodney's wild pitch allowed Matt Joyce to score from third to give the Rays a 2-1 victory.

"It was going to come down to some close plays," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "There are some things we didn't do that we could've taken possession of and had a little better chance at some points in the game. We'll just have to start again tomorrow."

One game after cranking out 17 hits and scoring eight against the Rays, the Angels were shut out through eight innings. In the ninth, though, second baseman Ben Zobrist bobbled a grounder long enough to allow Torii Hunter to score from third.

Soon after, reliever Kyle Farnsworth attempted to pick off Erick Aybar at first and winged his throw well into foul territory, allowing Aybar to reach third base with the potential game-winning run.

But the Angels came up empty-handed in the ninth and again in the 10th, while Joyce opened the 10th with a double for the Rays, took third on a groundout and came home with the winning run when Rodney's pitch bounced in front of the plate.

"[Catcher] Hank [Conger] did all he could," Scioscia said. "That would have been an incredible stop, if he'd gotten it."

The Angels didn't score much on Saturday, but to starter Joel Pineiro's credit, neither did the Rays. Pineiro made his first start of the season after missing 25 games with right shoulder tightness, and came in, he said, worried only about whether his arm would hold up.

It did, and then some, as the first 12 Rays to bat also sat down in order against Pineiro, whose only hit allowed during that time was to Reid Brignac. Tampa Bay's shortstop was thrown out at second, though, when he tried to stretch the single, allowing Pineiro to face the minimum through four.

For Pineiro, who fanned three in his seven innings to move to 999 career strikeouts, the results were better than he imagined.

"I felt great, and for me, that was the biggest test," he said. "I felt normal, and hopefully, I can build off of this. I'm definitely [pleased].

"I don't know what else I can say, except that it was a good game all around, for both sides. It was just that one pitch at the end."

Pineiro hit a rough spot with one out in the fifth inning, one that would cost him the win, despite his sparkling performance. Joyce parked a hanging sinker from Pineiro into the right-field bleachers for the Rays' first run, and Zobrist followed that with a line-drive double that might have spelled trouble for Pineiro.

But then a curious thing happened: The Rays registered two outs without even swinging the bat. After an intentional walk to Felipe Lopez, Pineiro struck out Kelly Shoppach, who walked across the plate just as catcher Conger was throwing to second, making Lopez an out on batter's interference.

The teams then traded zeros until Hunter crossed home with the tying run in the ninth to set the stage for the grand finale.

The Angels' hit pattern has been a frustrating storyline, unfolding as they struggle to maintain consistent production, and Saturday marked the sixth of their 12 losses to come by one run, and the sixth extra-inning game of the young season.

"It's pretty simple: When you're pitching really well and you're not hitting, you're going to play tight games," Scioscia said. "As you play tight games, it increases the chance that you're going to go extra innings at times, and that's really what we've seen."

Tampa Bay starter James Shields took a perfect game into the fifth inning. Shields, who pitched eight innings plus one batter, finished the day with 12 strikeouts and held the Angels to six hits.

There was a little flash of life in the Angels' bats when a Howard Kendrick single to left broke up the no-no, and Aybar and Conger followed suit in order to load the bases with one out in the fifth.

But Shields responded with back-to-back strikeouts to escape the inning undamaged, and the Angels put up little fight afterward until the ninth.

"That's a pretty good lineup they've got over there, and I thought I pitched pretty well [against it] today," said Shields, who was pursuing a third consecutive complete game. "I feel really good with my mechanics right now. I think the way that I feel out there on the mound is translating into my pitches and ... my results. It's a good feeling right now."

The Angels return to action at 10:40 a.m. PT on Sunday to wrap up the three-game series with Tampa Bay before heading to Boston for four games. Comments