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Updated: Sunday, May 25, 2003 9:24 PM EDT
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
1 6 1
Anaheim Angels
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
6 7 0
W Appier (3-2)
L Brazelton (0-4)
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ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- Anaheim Angels manager Mike Scioscia hopes Kevin Appier 's performance represents a sign of things to come from his rotation.

Appier allowed a run in six strong innings as the Angels posted a 6-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the decisive game of their three-game series.

Appier (3-2) yielded just four hits and two walks, struck out four and improved to 7-0 with a 1.79 ERA in seven career starts against Tampa Bay.

"My stuff was a little more lively, my velocity took another step in the right direction," Appier said. "I'm getting that late action back. ... It doesn't matter what you've done against a team, each time out they are capable of whacking you around."

"Another great start from Kevin. (Hopefully, that will) roll over start after start," Scioscia said. "That's what worked last year, that's what will turn us around this year."

The Anaheim starters entered Sunday ranked 12th in the American League with a combined 5.17 ERA and Scioscia clearly pointed to them as the major reason for the inconsistent play from the defending World Series champions.

"Our challenge is in-house, what other teams are doing isn't an issue here," Scioscia said. "The issues are starting pitching. That is starting to come around. ... (Last year,) everybody wanted to talk about our offense, but it was our starting pitching that was the story."

The Angels have been outscored by their opponents in the first five innings of games this season, 155-127.

In this one, the Angels held a 2-0 lead in the fifth when Jeff DaVanon became the first Anaheim player to steal home since Tony Phillips on June 28, 1997 at Seattle. DaVanon, who accomplished the feat as part of a double-steal, sparked a three-run rally that opened a five-run cushion for Anaheim.

As Tim Salmon struck out swinging, Troy Glaus took off for second. When catcher Toby Hall tried to nail Glaus at second, DaVanon headed home.

"It's a set play. If he throws through, I go," DaVanon said. "I key on how the catcher comes out (of his stance)."

"I didn't know DaVanon was running," Glaus said. "I was out by a mile, so I just stopped."

Garret Anderson followed with a triple that scored Glaus. Anderson scored on a wild pitch by Tampa Bay rookie starter Dewon Brazelton (0-4) to cap the outburst.

Meanwhile, Ben Grieve 's solo shot in the sixth was Tampa Bay's lone extra-base hit against Appier.

"Tampa's been a young team," said Devil Rays pinch hitter Al Martin , who grounded out to third to end the game. "He's a veteran pitcher going up against young undisciplined hitters. You have to be disciplined to have success against a guy like that."

The Devil Rays lost for the fifth time in six games.

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