It looks like the same could be true in the series finale.
Tampa Bay (38-30) won Tuesday's opener 5-4 in a game that will be most remembered for the ejection of reliever Joel Peralta for having pine tar on his glove. The umpires converged on the mound prior to the start of the eighth inning after Nationals manager Davey Johnson asked them to inspect Peralta's glove.Rays manager Joe Maddon was furious after the game, calling Johnson's actions "cowardly," "bush" and "bogus." Johnson knew about the pine tar because he had inside information on Peralta, who pitched for the Nationals in 2010.
No gloves were checked Wednesday, on a night when Washington's Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 over seven innings in a 3-2 victory to earn his ninth win. The Rays countered with Chris Archer , who allowed three runs and three hits - all in the first inning - in his major league debut. Peralta, who was suspended eight games Thursday but is appealing the ban, entered Wednesday's game wearing Jeremy Hellickson 's glove and retired the two batters he faced in the eighth.
Bryce Harper drove in his 20th run and came around to score for Washington, which didn't record another hit after the first inning but still managed to snap a four-game losing streak. Facing Moore (4-5, 4.16 ERA) might again pose problems for the Nationals (39-27), who are batting .190 with 13 total runs in the last five games.
In his 14th start since debuting last September, Moore allowed one hit and three walks while striking out eight in seven innings of an 11-0 win over Miami on Friday."It feels like it's been a while since I've had all three pitches throughout the night," Moore said. "It's a lot more fun to pitch like that."
Although Moore claims he hasn't had his best stuff lately, the 22-year-old left-hander hasn't pitched terribly. Friday's outing was the fourth time in five starts he yielded two earned runs or fewer, which has trimmed more than a run off his ERA from 5.20.
One area Moore is still looking to improve upon is his walks. He averages 4.28 per nine innings, the fourth-worst mark in the AL.
Base on balls have also been a problem for Gonzalez (8-3, 2.52), who averages 3.66 per nine innings, the NL's ninth-worst mark. Although both pitchers have control issues, both also get their share of strikeouts.
Gonzalez ranks third in baseball with an average of 11.10 strikeouts per nine innings, while Moore averages 9.40, the majors' ninth-best mark.
Gonzalez hasn't been quite as sharp this month, going 1-2 with a 4.24 ERA in three starts after opening the year 7-1 with a 2.04 ERA. Against the Yankees on Friday, the left-hander allowed three runs, five hits and two walks while striking out eight in six innings of a 7-2 loss.
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|June 17, 2012||Matt Joyce||Day-to-Day||Flu|
|June 15, 2012||Jeremy Hellickson||15-Day DL||Right shoulder fatigue|
|June 14, 2012||Luke Scott||Day-to-Day||Mid-back spasms|
|June 12, 2012||Ben Zobrist||Day-to-Day||Bruised right hand|
|June 09, 2012||Luke Scott||15-Day DL||Mid-back spasms|
|May 19, 2012||Jeff Keppinger||15-Day DL||Broken right big toe|
|June 17, 2012||Ian Desmond||Day-to-Day||Oblique soreness|
|June 11, 2012||Roger Bernadina||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right hamstring|
|June 10, 2012||Bryce Harper||Day-to-Day||Sore back|
|June 06, 2012||Henry Rodriguez||15-Day DL||Strained right index finger|
|May 30, 2012||Carlos Maldonado||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|May 27, 2012||Chad Tracy||15-Day DL||Groin soreness|
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Nationals got the last word against Joel Peralta in the pine tar flap.
The suspended Tampa Bay reliever served up a tiebreaking, two-run double to Danny Espinosa in the sixth inning Thursday night, sending the Nationals over the Rays 5-2.
Earlier in the day, Peralta learned that he had been penalized by Major League Baseball for eight games after being caught with pine tar in his glove Tuesday night. Peralta is appealing the decision and can keep playing until a final decision is reached.
"I'm glad we're past all this other stuff. That wears me out more than anything," Nationals manager Davey Johnson said.
Johnson talked endlessly on Wednesday about the matter and traded jabs with his Tampa Bay counterpart, Joe Maddon. After this win, Johnson was glad to talk about Espinosa.
The switch-hitting Espinosa, who was batting a paltry .133 with runners in scoring position and just .188 left-handed, delivered.
"He's a very dangerous hitter. He seems to shine in RBI situations," Johnson said.
Maddon was disappointed that the Rays, who are in third place in the AL East, lost two of three in Washington.
"We didn't get swept. We won one of the three, and that's a good thing. When you play a three-game series you obviously want to win the series, but the last thing you want is to get swept, and we did not get swept," Maddon said.
As a rookie, Espinosa hit 21 home runs and had 66 RBIs. This season hasn't gone as well. He has just six home runs and 21 RBIs.
He has a huge defender in his manager.
"Sometimes, it just takes a little time - patience. You know he has the talent, the ability. You just try and not put too pressure on him," Johnson said.
Espinosa appreciates Johnson's support.
"It's been huge to have the manager have my back," Espinosa said.
Peralta (0-3) entered a game that was tied at 2 in the sixth. He got the first two outs of the inning before Jesus Flores doubled, pinch hitter Adam LaRoche was walked intentionally and Espinosa doubled.
Gio Gonzalez (9-3) pitched six innings on a steamy night when the gametime temperature was 97 degrees. He allowed two runs and seven hits, walking two and striking out four.
Gonzalez was displeased that he was hooked with the score tied.
"I was going to hook Gio after the sixth and he was working a big anger on me," Johnson said.
Tampa Bay loaded the bases in the seventh on three walks issued by Craig Stammen and Michael Gonzalez . Ryan Mattheus struck out pinch-hitter Will Rhymes to end the inning.
Sean Burnett worked the eighth and Tyler Clippard pitched the ninth for his 11th save.
Roger Bernadina 's RBI double in the seventh increased Washington's lead to 5-2.
Tampa Bay scored in the second when Hideki Matsui walked and Jose Lobaton , Drew Sutton and Desmond Jennings singled.
The Nationals scored twice in the third off Matt Moore . Espinosa and Bryce Harper led off with walks, then pulled off a double steal. Michael Morse had a sacrifice fly and Desmond had an RBI single.
The Rays made it 2-all in the sixth on Ben Zobrist 's leadoff double and a one-out single by Sean Rodriguez .
Moore worked five innings. He allowed two runs and three hits, walking four and striking out six.
NOTES: Rays OF Matt Joyce missed his second straight game with a stiff back. ... Tampa Bay INF Jeff Keppinger (broken toe) will rejoin the team in Philadelphia on Friday. He's been on the disabled list since May 21. ... Nationals LHP Ross Detwiler will return to the starting rotation on Sunday against Baltimore. Detwiler and Chien-Ming Wang swapped roles. Wang will go to the bullpen. Detwiler had been starting earlier this season and said he should have sufficient endurance to start. ... Washington RHP Drew Storen said he'll throw live batting practice on Friday for the first time since elbow surgery in April. ... The Nationals have scheduled RHP Jordan Zimmermann (3-5, 2.92) to face the Orioles' RHP Jason Hammel (7-2, 2.87) on Friday night. ... The Rays play in Philadelphia on Friday. RHP James Shields (7-4, 3.72) faces LHP Cliff Lee (0-3, 3.48).