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Angels Tab Hot Haren For Opener Against Rays

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays try to stay on top in the American League East this evening when they open a three-game series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Tropicana Field.

The Rays took two of three from the Yankees to take a half-game lead in the division, as Dan Johnson hit two, two-run home runs to lead Tampa to 4-3 win in Wednesday's rubber match against their division rivals.

After the Yankees had taken a 3-2 lead in the top half of the seventh inning with the help of a controversial call, the Rays rallied in their half, as Matt Joyce singled with two outs before Johnson went deep for just the fifth time this season with a shot to right.

"I have the sense of that calmness that comes over in that kind of situation, just able to block out everything," Johnson said. "I think just the pure adrenaline alone helps me."

Grant Balfour then pitched out of trouble in the top of the eighth and Rafael Soriano worked around a two-out walk to Mark Teixeira to strike out Alex Rodriguez for his 43rd save, tying Roberto Hernandez (1999) for the single- season club record.

Heading to the hill for the Rays tonight will be righty Wade Davis, who has won his last seven decisions. Davis' latest win came on Saturday in Toronto, as he held the Jays to a run and seven hits in seven innings to improve to 12-9, while lowering his ERA to 4.24.

Davis beat the Angels back on August 24 in his only other meeting with them.

He will be opposed by righty Dan Haren, who is pitching as well as he has all season. Haren earned the win on Sunday against Seattle, as he scattered three hits over seven scoreless innings to improve to 3-4 while with the Angels and lowered his ERA to 3.04.

Over his last four starts Haren is 2-0, but has surrendered just three runs in 27 innings of those starts.

Haren beat the Rays back on August 25 and is 5-2 lifetime against them with a 2.60 ERA in eight starts.

Anaheim enters tonight's contest after dropping two of three to the Cleveland Indians, including a 3-2 loss in 11 innings on Thursday. Hideki Matsui and Mike Napoli both homered in the loss for the Angels, who had won four straight games before losing this series.

Tampa has won four of its six meetings with the Angels this season.