(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays got a boost on Tuesday with the return of Wade Davis. Today they hope for that same kind of lift when Jeff Niemann returns from the disabled list to face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the finale of a three-game set at Angel Stadium.
"It's always nice to have a cushion out there," Davis said. "My shoulder was loose tonight. My command was pretty good. I lost it a little bit, but was able to get it back."
Davis (10-9), who hadn't pitched since August 5 due to a right shoulder strain, won his fifth straight decision. The right-hander gave up six hits and two runs, while fanning five over 5 1/3 innings in the middle test of this three-game series.
John Jaso singled in two runs during Tampa Bay's four-run second inning, on a night the Rays stayed tied for the lead in the AL East. They have won four straight and nine of 11 and are still even with the Yankees, who won at Toronto earlier Tuesday.
The Rays had never beaten the Angels in a series prior to this season, now they've done it twice, winning two of three games back in May. Prior to 2010, the Angels were 14-0-1 all-time at home in series vs. Tampa Bay.
Hideki Matsui had three hits, including a solo homer, for the Angels, who have lost three in a row and seven of nine. They now stand 10 games behind the AL West-leading Texas Rangers. Howie Kendrick homered for the Angels, who are 2- for-25 with runners in scoring position over these two games.
Santana (13-9) permitted eight hits and six runs over 5 1/3 frames and had a three-start winning streak snapped.
"We're definitely not bringing the level of play to the field that we should be," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's frustrating. We'll now see what we're made of."
Niemann returns from a stint on the DL tonight and will try to stay unbeaten against the AL West for his career. The right-hander, who had been sidelined with a shoulder strain, is 1-0 in three starts against the Angels and a perfect 5-0 against the West.
The 27-year-old right-hander had won four of his last five decisions before heading to the DL after his August 3 outing against Minnesota. He is 10-3 on the year with a 3.12 ERA.
Los Angeles will counter with righty Dan Haren, who is 1-4 with the Angels with a 4.39 ERA. He lost his second straight start on Friday in Minnesota, as the Twins ripped him for seven runs and 11 hits in seven innings.
Haren is 4-2 lifetime against the Rays with a 2.74 ERA in seven starts.