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OC Register: Rookie Jose Suarez pitches Angels to victory over Rays


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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. —  José Suarez is continuing to show the stuff that encouraged the Angels to bring the 21-year-old to the majors.

Suarez was dominant for most of his outing in the Angels’ 5-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday afternoon, the team’s fourth victory in five games.

Suarez gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings, all the runs scoring on a homer by Yandy Diaz in the sixth. Suarez has allowed eight runs in 16 innings, but he’s had stretches within each game that showed how much better he could be.

He needed just 64 pitches to get through the first five innings Saturday, without allowing a run. He struck out three and allowed just two singles.

Leaning heavily on his changeup, Suarez sliced through the Rays hitters twice through the lineup.

In the sixth, though, the Rays got their third look at him, and the results were different. Avisail García lined a solid single to left and then Tommy Pham dumped a blooper into right. Austin Meadows then hit a fly ball to the warning track in center.

The ballpark barely held that one, but it couldn’t hold Diaz’s drive to right-center on a 3-and-1 changeup. The three-run homer erased much of a 4-0 lead.

Relievers Cam Bedrosian, Ty Buttrey and Hansel Robles made the lead hold up, a day after the bullpen had blown a four-run lead.

This time, the Angels built a four-run lead with a quick burst against Charlie Morton, the fourth game in a row the Angels took at least a four-run lead by the fifth inning.

David Fletcher hit a two-run homer in the second and Justin Bour hit a solo shot in the fourth. Bour has hit homers in each of the two games he’s started since coming back from Triple-A.

Kevan Smith added a solo homer in the eighth to get the Angels an insurance run after Diaz cut the lead to one.

The Angels’ last four victories have all been by the same score.

More to come on this story.

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