B.J. Upton hit Scott Kazmir’s first pitch of the game over the wall in left field. Upton finished with two RBI for the Rays, who won for the eighth time in 10 games and are tied with the Yankees atop the division. New York lost in Toronto, 3-2, earlier Monday.
Shields (12-11) surrendered eight hits and three runs — two earned — to win for the fifth time in his last seven starts. Rafael Soriano struck out the side in the ninth to get his major league-leading 38th save.
“We scored three out of the gate and I was able to go deep in the game,” Shields said. “I had good command of my fastball as well as my change-up. I got into a nice rhythm. Every win now is pretty big.”
Kazmir (8-11), who broke into the majors with Tampa Bay in 2004 but was traded to the Angels in August of last year, suffered yet another loss, his sixth over his last eight starts. The lefty was touched for five hits and four runs — three earned — in 5 1/3 innings.
“Giving up three passes in the first inning is a recipe for disaster,” Kazmir said. “If I would have gotten by the first inning, it could have been a whole different outcome. It was frustrating.”
Hideki Matsui stroked a two-run double for the Angels, who lost for the sixth time in eight games.
Kazmir struggled in the first inning, hitting a batter, walking another and making an errant pick-off throw. That led to Ben Zobrist’s two-run single and the Angels were in a 3-0 hole.
Upton doubled to left to score Sean Rodriguez in the second, but Matsui hit a two-run double in the third.
Peter Bourjos made a great catch in center field to rob Upton of a home run, as the Rays had two men on base in the sixth inning.
Los Angeles had two runners on base in the bottom half, but Torii Hunter grounded into a double play.
Howie Kendrick’s sacrifice fly to right scored Bourjos in the seventh, but the Angels didn’t have a man on base the final two frames.
The Angels hold an all-time home record of 41-17 vs. Tampa Bay…Los Angeles is 14-1-1 in last 16 series at Angel Stadium vs. the Rays with only series loss coming in the first meeting this year (May 10-12)…The Rays own the best road record in the majors at 38-24…The teams combined to hit 3-for-24 with men in scoring position.