The Tampa Bay Rays lost two of three in their season-opening series, but manager Joe Maddon won't complain about his team's effort.
Looking to get back on track, the Rays host a Cleveland Indians team hoping to build on a successful opening set Friday night.
Tampa Bay led after six innings of Tuesday's 7-4 opening day loss to Baltimore on Tuesday and was tied in the fifth of Thursday's 6-3 defeat. Sandwiched between was a comeback 8-7 win on a walk-off homer by Matt Joyce .
"It was a really entertaining, hard-fought three games, and I'm really proud of how our guys performed," Maddon told the Rays' official website. "As our group comes together, the new guys get more involved and come together, we're going to see us kind of take off. I was really pleased with the three games."
Evan Longoria went 2 for 4 and got the Rays within three in the ninth with a deep fly off the wall, but was called out for passing teammate Ben Zobrist on the bases as he headed into second for what would have been a double."It's one of those things you're taught to always keep your head up," Maddon said. "It's unfortunate. And again, you always tell the trail runner to watch the guy in front of you. That's baserunning 101. Longo feels terrible about it, I'm sure."
Longoria went 5 for 12 in the series while Zobrist was 5 for 11 with four RBIs.
Tampa Bay looks to bounce back by giving the ball to Matt Moore , who went 1-4 with a 5.07 ERA in his first nine starts last year but was 10-7 with a 3.31 ERA the rest of the way in his first full major league season.
The left-hander did struggle twice in July against the Indians (2-1), allowing seven runs, eight hits and 10 walks in 9 2-3 innings.
"They have a solid lineup," Moore said. "We've been doing our homework the last couple of days. I've never seen a couple of those guys before in their lineup. So it's going to be an advantage for somebody."
Cleveland pitchers yielded three runs and nine hits to win the first two at Toronto before Brett Myers was battered for seven runs on four homers in five innings of Thursday's 10-8 loss to the Blue Jays. Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds each homered for the Indians, who overcame deficits of two and three runs."It's very encouraging to see that when we're down like that, we keep fighting," Myers said.
Santana, who had three hits in the finale, is 6 for 13. Teammate Michael Brantley is 6 for 11.
Zach McAllister takes the mound for Cleveland after going 6-8 with a 4.24 ERA in 22 starts as a rookie. The right-hander allowed five runs - one earned - while striking out 13 and walking seven over 11 2-3 innings to go 1-0 in two starts versus Tampa Bay in 2012.
"Every time I take the mound," McAllister told the Indians' official website, "I want our team to know we have a very good chance to win no matter who it is (we're facing)."
Cleveland and Tampa Bay split the eight meetings last season.
|April 03, 2013||Scott Kazmir||Day-to-Day||Sore abdominal muscle|
|April 02, 2013||Scott Kazmir||15-Day DL||Strained right rib cage|
|March 31, 2013||Frank Herrmann||60-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 25, 2013||Frank Herrmann||Day-to-Day||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|March 25, 2013||Jason Giambi||15-Day DL||Lower back strain|
|March 14, 2013||Frank Herrmann||Day-to-Day||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|March 31, 2013||Juan Carlos Oviedo||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 24, 2013||Luke Scott||15-Day DL||Strained right calf|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Winless as a rookie last April, Tampa Bay's Matt Moore is off to an impressive start in 2013.
The 23-year-old left-hander pitched six sharp innings and Ben Zobrist drove in three runs to lead the Rays over the Cleveland Indians 4-0 on Friday night.
Moore (1-0) limited the Indians to a pair of hits by Michael Bourn , walked two and struck out eight. He retired his final eight batters and came out after 100 pitches.
"It was the perfect time to get him out - 100 pitches, six innings," manager Joe Maddon said. "He goes home feeling really good about himself. That's a great game for him to build on."
Moore has been a notoriously slow starter throughout his pro career. He was winless in four April starts in his first full season in the majors. Including five minor league seasons, he entered Friday with a 4.52 ERA in April and May compared to 2.30 ERA over his career in June to October.
"It feels good for us to have a combined shutout like that. It's something we really work towards every game, and to have the first one of the year on my night feels nice," Moore said.
The lefty struggled with command of his fastball for most of spring training, but began to feel better about his performance in his final exhibition start last weekend.
"It's really just a matter of keeping that tempo where it was in that exhibition game against Detroit. I felt like it was right there," Moore said. "Just by the results of that outing, it felt like something picked up. For me, it was my tempo. That cleaned up everything."
Zobrist, who has driven in a team-leading seven runs in four games, did most of the damage against Zach McAllister (0-1) with a pair of doubles.
Bourn reached on an infield single in the first and doubled into the left-field corner in the third. Only two other runners reached base against Moore, who walked Mike Aviles in the third and Michael Brantley in the fourth.
"He wasn't throwing anything up there that we haven't seen. I think we didn't take advantage of, when we had guys on base and didn't come up with the big hit," Cleveland's Jason Kipnis said.
"He had his off-speed stuff working. Pounding the zone. Working ahead of guys," the Indians' Nick Swisher added. "He really, really kind of got into that groove, and made it a tough day."
Jake McGee and Brandon Gomes each worked a perfect inning for the Rays. Joel Peralta finished the two-hitter with a 1-2-3 ninth.
The Indians, who were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position, struck out 11 times and didn't have a baserunner after the fourth inning.
Two of Tampa Bay's four runs off McAllister were unearned. Cleveland's starter allowed six hits, walked none and struck out three over six innings.
Sam Fuld led off the Tampa Bay fourth with a single and scored on Zobrist's double down the right-field line. Yunel Escobar drove in Zobrist from third with a grounder to short to make it 2-0.
A two-out fielding error by Aviles at third opened the door for the Rays to add two more runs on Zobrist's fifth-inning double.
Zobrist has hit safely in all four of Tampa Bay's games. He had a solo homer and sacrifice fly on Opening Day, then added a pair of RBI singles the following night.
"He went to the WBC, and I think that's a real important part of his start right now," Maddon said. "He really takes that kind of thing seriously, so he came to camp ready to play."
NOTES: The Rays put RHP Jeff Niemann on the 15-day disabled list because of soreness in his pitching shoulder. The move was retroactive to March 28. Niemann, moved to the bullpen after competing with Roberto Hernandez for the final spot in the starting rotation this spring, has yet to appear in a game this season. Gomes was recalled from Triple-A Durham to fill the roster opening. ... Cleveland manager Terry Francona said RHP Carlos Carrasco , currently serving a six-game suspension dating from July 2011, will start Tuesday against the New York Yankees . Carrasco missed the end of 2011 and all of 2012 after elbow surgery. ... Indians 1B-DH Jason Giambi , on the 15-day DL with a lower back strain, is working out with the team and could be activated Tuesday. ... Cleveland LHP Scott Kazmir , a one-time Tampa Bay ace who was scratched from his scheduled start Saturday because of a strained ribcage muscle, didn't make the trip. He is undergoing treatment in Cleveland. ... The Rays traded minor league C Stephen Vogt to Oakland for a player to be named or cash. ... The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported negotiations on a multiyear contract between the Indians and Kipnis ended when the regular season began.