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LAA@TOR: Skaggs earns victory against Jays

The Rays' first look at Angels starter Tyler Skaggs will be a glimpse of the young left-hander at his best.

Skaggs hopes to build on a solid turn against the Blue Jays on Saturday, when he gave up only two runs on four hits in eight strong innings.

At one point, Skaggs retired 21 straight.

"I honestly didn't even think about it," Skaggs said. "Somebody asked me about it and I had no clue. I actually thought I walked somebody. Kind of just locked in and tried to take it pitch by pitch."

He also didn't allow a walk in an outing reminiscent of his better showings this season.

In his four starts with one or zero walks allowed, Skaggs is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA. He has issued at least three bases on balls in his other starts, compiling a 1-1 record and a 6.89 ERA in those outings.

"Tyler is really coming into his own, you can really see the maturation process," Angels catcher Chris Iannetta said. "He just keeps getting better and hopefully he just keeps learning how to pitch and learning how to execute."

Veteran Rays left-hander Erik Bedard, who will man the mound opposite Skaggs, hopes to continue pitching deeper into his starts.

After totaling 12 2/3 innings in his first three starts, Bedard has logged six innings in back-to-back outings.

He has won both games, earning his first pair of back-to-back winning decisions since June 14-26, 2013.

But Bedard not only went deep Saturday, he delivered. The veteran southpaw one-hit the Indians in six innings at Tropicana Field.

"I can't say I expected a one-hitter, but I expected him to go deep in the game," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He pitched really, really well. One hit, six innings, not bad. He's definitely showing signs of improvement."

Angels: Taking care of business on road
• The Angels won five of six on their road trip and are three games above .500, a six-game improvement from where they were after 39 games last year. The biggest reason for that is starting pitching. The Halos have a 3.62 ERA from the rotation.

"I think on this road trip the overall theme for us has been pitching. We've been pitching very well, and it's taken a little bit of pressure off of us to have to have Mike [Trout] and Albert [Pujols] do what they can do. And actually this trip they've both struggled a little bit," manager Mike Scioscia said. "But I think the young guys have come up and done a great job on the offensive end, gotten some big hits for us. Guys like C.J. Cron and Efren Navarro, Grant Green. It's keeping our heads above water. We're scoring just enough to get a lead, and we're holding it."

Rays: Longoria thrives near home
• In 21 games at Angel Stadium, Evan Longoria -- who hails from the area -- has a .377 batting average with six home runs and 17 RBIs.

Longoria has been in a funk lately, so Maddon was asked about having Longoria return to a place where he's played so well.

"It would be kind of nice [to get him going]," Maddon said. "Get him going back in the right direction. He works so hard. He shoulders so much. Like everybody else, I just want him to be himself and go play. I don't think like you have to do anything more."

As for why Longoria hits so well at Angel Stadium, Maddon points to comfort.

"Everybody always wants to play well for their family. Having grown up there, played there, Long Beach's field is not that far from Anaheim Stadium," Maddon said. "The whole vibe. The smell in the air. The tone of the sun during the course of the game. I'm sure all of that matters to him. He's definitely comfortable there."

Worth noting
• Rays ace David Price has 70 strikeouts and six walks, leading the Major Leagues with an 11.67 strikeouts/walks ratio.

• Halos outfielder Collin Cowgill has reached base safely in 21 of his 22 starts and 12 of his last 19 plate appearances. The Angels are 14-8 in his 22 starts.

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