St. Petersburg, Fla. • The Tampa Bay Rays are heading out on a long road trip in a little slump.
Jason Vargas allowed two hits over seven innings and the Los Angeles Angels held off the Rays 2-0 on Thursday.
Tampa Bay has lost four of five, and are on top of the AL wild-card standings with Oakland. The Angels have won five of six.
Tampa Bay dropped two of three to the Angels, and now start a 10-game road swing Friday night at Oakland.
"It's definitely not what we want, but it's what we have at this point," Rays third baseman Evan Longoria said. "I think the one positive is we still have a lead in the wild card and we are still within close striking distance (of AL East-leading) Boston with a month of baseball to play. What more could you ask for?"
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon set a theme for the trip that deals with the start of the college football season. He is letting players and staff wear football jerseys on the team flight.
"Frustrating is a great word for today," said Maddon, who was wearing a Lafayette College jersey during his postgame media session. "It happens, and you've got to move it along and get ready for the next day. Nothing you can do about today except put your favorite collegiate jersey and get on the airplane. It's a long ride. The card game will be festive. We've got two really good bottles of wine for the trip also."