ANAHEIM -- B.J. Upton has hit six home runs in August, which has him tied for the American League lead for the month with Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers, along with Albert Pujols of the Angels.
Upton is hitting .344 (11-for-32) with five home runs and 12 RBIs in eight games on the road trip. The five home runs are a personal best for any road trip or homestand.
"B.J.'s playing at this higher level," Joe Maddon said. "I think the last time I saw something similar to this it was in the playoffs in 2008. It's fun to watch because I can really see that his focus is great. His confidence is soaring. You're starting to see the abilities matching the expectations. He's in a good place right now."
Upton downplayed what he's been doing.
"Man, I'm just trying to hit it where it's pitched," he said.
Howell adds Rays record to recovery from surgery
ANAHEIM -- J.P. Howell broke James Shields' club record of 23 consecutive scoreless innings when he blanked the Angels in the ninth inning of Friday night's game.
That moved Howell to 23 2/3 innings since last allowing a run, which he did on June 13 against the Mets. He then pitched another scoreless inning in Saturday night's game against the Angels to get to 24 2/3.
Howell missed all of the 2010 season after shoulder surgery, which added significance to his streak.
"I was just thinking about how bad it got last year," said Howell, referencing his up-and-down 2011 season. "My wife witnessed it in the stands. So it's funny for us to look back and kind of clean our hands off from all of that and say that now we can move forward and keep it rolling. It's the first time in a while where it's fun to look back."
Shields sang Howell's praises.
"It's amazing, I'm proud of him," Shields said. "... I couldn't be more proud of him for the way he's come back after surgery and all of that stuff."
Added Rays manager Joe Maddon: "I'm so happy for him. I mean here's a guy who pretty much was a huge contributor to the 2008 World Series run. Eventually undergoes shoulder surgery, has a tough time with it, and struggled. And all of a sudden he's put it back together. And actually a little better version of what he had been. I'm really happy for him personally."
Howell's streak ranks as the longest active streak in baseball, ahead of the Reds' Aroldis Chapman (22 2/3) and the Phillies' Cole Hamels (22), who started Saturday night.
Maddon, Molina honored as part of 2002 Angels
ANAHEIM -- Joe Maddon and Jose Molina were recognized prior to Saturday night's game against the Angels, as both were part of the 2002 world champion Angels. A celebration of that club took place Saturday night.
Maddon was the bench coach for the team from 1996-2005, and Molina was an Angel from 2001-2007.
"It doesn't [seem like 10 years ago], it doesn't," Maddon said.
Molina and his brother, Bengie, were the third set of brothers to play on a World Series champion team together, joining Paul and Dizzy Dean (1934 Cardinals) and Mort and Walker Cooper (1942 and 1944 Cardinals).
"Great memories of an awesome year," Molina said. "The way everything happened kind of makes everything even better. Nobody expected us to win. ... We just stayed together all the time. When we were struggling, we never tried to do too much and when we were good, we just stayed together through everything."
Are Price's numbers adding up to Cy Young?
ANAHEIM -- David Price, whose 16 wins are tied for most in the Major Leagues, took over the American League lead in ERA Friday night after Jered Weaver of the Angels yielded a career-high nine runs to the Rays. Price is at 2.39, ahead of Detroit's Justin Verlander, who is at 2.53.
Since the Cy Young was awarded to each league in 1967, 18 of the 19 pitchers to lead either league in both wins and ERA have won the Cy Young.
Baltimore's Mike Boddicker is the lone exception in 1984, when Detroit reliever Willie Hernandez claimed the award.
This is the latest into any season a Rays pitcher has led the league in ERA.
Luke Scott (mild strain, right external oblique) played nine innings at first base Friday night for Class A Charlotte against St. Lucie (Mets) and went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and a two-run single. In six rehab games, he is 6-for-23 (.261) with two home runs and five RBIs.
Scott took Saturday night off and will DH for Charlotte on Sunday before reporting to the Rays. Chances are he will be activated Monday or Tuesday during the Rays' series against the Royals.
Right-hander Jeff Niemann (fractured right fibula) is scheduled to start Sunday for Triple-A Durham against Gwinnett (Braves); he is expected to make two starts before re-joining the team.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, Ben Zobrist leads the American League with 24.7 wins above replacement (WAR) over the last four seasons. He ranks second in the Major Leagues to Albert Pujols (who played for the Cardinals before going to the Angels prior to this season).
Entering Saturday night's contest, the Rays were 9-2 and averaging 5.64 runs per game since Evan Longoria's return on Aug. 7. They averaged 2.5 runs per game in the previous 10 games before his return. Overall, the Rays are 23-10 and averaging 4.97 runs per game with Longoria and they are 42-44 with a 3.85 runs per game average without him.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.