ST. PETERSBURG — Matt Andriese is pitching far better than most fifth starters.
Andriese allowed six hits over eight innings, Colby Rasmus drove in four runs and the Rays salvaged a split of a four-game series with Los Angeles by beating the Angels 4-0 on Thursday.
“He’s got plenty of stuff to be a middle, top-of-the-rotation starter,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “That’s exactly how he’s pitching this year.”
Andriese (5-1) improved to 4-0 over his last five starts, holding the Angels to 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position. Los Angeles threatened in five innings against the right-hander.
“Early on, I was kind of feeling for it a little bit,” Andriese said. “It was one of those games I just battled through.”
Rasmus had a pair of key two-out hits with the bases loaded: a two-run single in the first and a fifth-inning double that made it 4-0.
“Good to see him swinging the bat well,” Cash said.
Rasmus, who missed the first 27 games of the season following hip surgery, had been 6 for 36 with 20 strikeouts over his previous 10 games.
Tommy Hunter got three outs to complete a six-hitter.
Daniel Wright (0-1), recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill in for the injured Alex Meyer, allowed four runs — two earned — and six hits in 4 1/3 innings for the Angels, who had won the first two games of the series. Los Angeles finished 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Meyer, placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday with back spasms, could return next week.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia won’t commit to Wright making another start.
“We’re going to evaluate it,” Scioscia said. “We’ll see where it is in a couple days and go from there.”
Mike Trout doubled in the first but was thrown out by right fielder Steven Souza Jr. on Andrelton Simmons’ two-out single.
“To get Mike, he’s got to put that throw on the money and he did,” Scioscia said.
Trout went 1 for 4 as the designated hitter and was 4 for 14 in the series with three doubles and a home run. The 2016 AL MVP has reached base in 42 of his 44 games this season.
Cameron Maybin, who started in center field, left after five innings with right knee soreness. He might play Friday.
Angels DH Albert Pujols, who played the first three games of the series after missing three games with right hamstring soreness, was rested. Scioscia said a decision will be made daily on whether Pujols starts at first base during the three-game interleague series at Miami.
The Angels have been shut out four times, and were held scoreless over the last 17 innings of the just-completed series.
Angels: SS Yunel Escobar (strained left hamstring) could run the bases this weekend. … RHP Cam Bedrosian (strained right groin) is ready to throw batting practice.
Rays: Hunter (strained right calf) was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list and RHP Jumbo Diaz (right arm fatigue) went on the 10-day DL. … RHP Brad Boxberger (right flexor strain) is to throw batting practice Monday.
Angels: RHP Jesse Chavez (4-5) and Miami RHP Dan Straily (2-3) are Friday’s starters.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (3-3) goes against Minnesota LHP Hector Santiago (4-2) on Friday night.
(@Copyright 2017. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may bot be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)