ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon watches his team and sees several good things.
The Rays’ record, though, is not one of them.
Jered Weaver won his second consecutive start, Torii Hunter and Alberto Callaspo both had two RBIs and the Los Angeles Angels beat the winless AL East champions 5-3 Tuesday night.
“Honestly, I’m not displeased,” Maddon said. “0-4 is no good. I don’t like it. But I do like that we’re playing the game pretty well right now. We’re just not hitting. That happens.”
Manny Ramirez was hitless in four at-bats with three strikeouts and is 1 for 16 overall. Fellow Rays newcomer Johnny Damon returned after missing a game with a sore right calf and singled, making him 1 for 11 this year.
Many of the announced crowd of 13,173 booed Ramirez after his final couple at-bats.
“Unfair,” Maddon said. “The guy is just starting out. I think he’s actually trying too hard. I want the fans to know he works. This man really works. This man really cares. It’s not working for him right now, but he’s going to be just fine. There’s nothing wrong with Manny. Just give us a little more time.”
Weaver (2-0), the major league strikeout leader last season, allowed one run and three hits in 6 2-3 innings. Jordan Walden pitched the ninth for his first save.
Los Angeles’ Bobby Abreu reached base for the eighth consecutive plate appearance with a first-inning single. He went 5 for 5 with two walks in Sunday’s 12-9, 13-inning loss at Kansas City. Abreu’s streak ended when he flied out to deep center in the second.
Sean Rodriguez and B.J Upton homered for the Rays. Tampa Bay had scored just one run in each of its first three games this year.
“We didn’t expect to start that way,” Damon said.
Rodriguez pulled the Rays within 4-1 on his third-inning solo homer. Hunter extended the Angels’ advantage with an RBI single in the fifth.
The Rays loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, but failed to score when Damon lined out to left against reliever Hisanori Takahashi.
Upton hit a two-run homer in the eighth that cut the deficit to 5-3.
“When you’re in the middle of like 20 games over .500 and you lose four, not that big of an impact,” Maddon said. “In the beginning of the year, it really shines through. I just want our guys to chill out, keep working on the things we’ve talked about in spring training and it’s all going to fall into place and we’re going to be very good.”
NOTES: Tampa Bay is the first defending division champion to start 0-4 since St. Louis in 1997. … Upton is the only Tampa Bay player with a hit in all four games this season. … Los Angeles 2B Howie Kendrick went 2 for 2 with two walks. He is 43 for 97 in his career against the Rays.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)