ANAHEIM, Calif. — B.J. Upton went 4-for-5 with a home run and three RBI, Ben Zobrist and Jose Molina also homered and the Tampa Bay Rays battered Jered Weaver for a career-worst nine earned runs in a 12-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
James Shields (11-7) allowed three runs, seven hits and no walks in six innings while striking out eight, helping the Rays maintain a one-game lead over Detroit and Baltimore in the American League wild-card race. The Orioles lost to the Tigers after starting the day tied with Tampa Bay.
Shields, the subject of trade rumors before the non-waiver deadline on July 31, is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four starts since. The 30-year-old right-hander was 1-3 with a 6.15 ERA in a seven-start stretch before the deadline passed.
Weaver (15-3) had his shortest outing of the season, giving up eight hits and two walks in three-plus innings — including Zobrist’s 14th homer and Upton’s 15th. It was the sixth time the three-time All-Star allowed multiple homers in back-to-back starts during his seven-year career. Seattle’s Jesus Montero went deep twice against him last Sunday.
Upton hit a first-pitch homer into the left-field bullpen with one out in the first and Zobrist led off the second with a drive into the elevated seats in right-center, marking the third time this season that Weaver allowed more than one home run in an outing. The Yankees hit three off him on July 15, but he escaped the Bronx with a 10-8 victory.
Weaver, who came in with a chance to tie Tampa Bay’s David Price for the major league lead in wins, faced eight batters and threw 24 pitches in the fourth inning without recording an out.
Molina, who spent seven seasons as a backup catcher with the Angels and was a member of their only World Series championship club in 2002, hit his fourth homer in the eighth against Jason Isringhausen.