Jason Vargas threw seven shutout innings last Thursday in Tampa Bay, allowing two hits, striking out seven and walking three in an Angels victory, but his encore performance against the Rays five days later did not go as well.
The left-hander was rocked for five earned runs and 10 hits in four innings of a 7-1 loss at Angel Stadium on Tuesday night, with the Rays snapping a five-game losing streak by scoring as many runs Tuesday as they did in their previous five games.
“Sometimes with a quick turnaround against the same team you have to get creative, and Jason wasn’t as sharp,” Manager Mike Scioscia said after the Angels lost for only the second time in 11 games.
“He made some good pitches early, then was in the heart of the plate a bit. His changeup was up a bit, he got behind in some counts, and those guys did a good job against him.”
Vargas (8-6) gave up a single to James Loney, a double to Wil Myers and a run-scoring groundout to Kelly Johnson in the second. Desmond Jennings led off the third with a home run to center, and Ben Zobrist’s two-out, two-run double to left gave the Rays a 4-1 lead in the fourth.
Vargas gave up singles to Delmon Young and Loney to open the fifth and was pulled in favor of Juan Gutierrez, who allowed an RBI single to Jose Labaton in the fifth and a solo homer to Yunel Escobar in the sixth.
Of the 23 batters Vargas faced, 12 reached base. Did Vargas try to change much from his previous start against the Rays?
“No, not at all,” he said. “It’s never been a part of my game to go out of my way to do something different. The inability to make quality pitches down in the zone late in the count and sometimes early is what got me tonight.”