Moore looks to continue his scoreless streak as the Rays try to get their offense on track in the middle game of a road series against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
Tampa Bay (4-9) ranks near the bottom of the majors in runs (39) and batting average (.204). The Rays have been especially bad in dropping seven of eight, totaling 14 runs and hitting .160 while going 1 for 34 with runners in scoring position.
"As long as players don't quit on themselves then we're in good shape, and we're not going to do that because I'm not going to do that," manager Joe Maddon said after his team matched the franchise's worst start with a 5-4 loss in the series opener Tuesday. "I like the battle. I like the fight. The work has been great. It's going to flip."
The Rays hope to snap out of their funk with Moore (2-0, 0.00 ERA) taking the mound for his third start. The left-hander has the longest scoreless streak to open the season among AL starters at 11 1-3 innings. He held Texas hitless for the first 4 1-3 innings and allowed one hit over 5 1-3 in a 2-0 win last Wednesday.
Moore maintained his perfect ERA despite walking a career-high six.
"Where the big pitches that really needed to be made, I was locked into those moments," Moore said. "From that, we can be happy with what the results were."
Moore has allowed three hits in his first two starts and leads major league starters with an .086 opponents' batting average. But he has already walked eight and thrown two wild pitches.
Maddon acknowledges that Moore can sometimes have trouble with control, but admits that he has enjoyed Moore's start to 2013.
Moore has "this nice little tempo, then all of a sudden you see the tempo (go away) and there's this little thing at the end of the delivery," Maddon told the Rays' official website. "A little lagging of the arm. ... But when he's right on and that thing comes together, it's beautiful to watch from the side."
Moore was excellent in his first four career starts against Baltimore last season, going 2-2 with a 1.83 ERA. However, he walked 13 in 19 2-3 innings.
Despite Moore's success against the Orioles, Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters is 5 for 8 with two homers and three walks against him.
Wieters was 2 for 26 over his last eight games before hitting a solo homer in the series opener, helping the Orioles (7-6) improve to 3-1 against the Rays in 2013.
Chris Tillman (0-0, 7.00) will get the ball next for the Orioles. The right-hander held Boston to two runs in 5 1-3 innings Thursday, and Baltimore took a 3-2 victory on Adam Jones ' RBI double in the seventh.
Tillman is 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA in seven starts against the Rays.
Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria , who's 6 for 15 (.400) with a home run, three RBIs and three runs scored versus Baltimore this season, is 6 for 12 with three homers and three walks against Tillman.
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|March 31, 2013||Juan Carlos Oviedo||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 28, 2013||Jeff Niemann||60-Day DL||Right shoulder surgery - out for season|
|March 24, 2013||Luke Scott||15-Day DL||Strained right calf|
|April 07, 2013||Nolan Reimold||Day-to-Day||Right hamstring tightness|
|April 05, 2013||Brian Roberts||15-Day DL||Ruptured tendon, right knee|
|April 04, 2013||Brian Roberts||Day-to-Day||Right hamstring injury|
|March 26, 2013||Wilson Betemit||60-Day DL||Right PCL tear|
|March 23, 2013||Steve Johnson||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|March 22, 2013||Tsuyoshi Wada||60-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
BALTIMORE (AP) -- For the first time in a week, the Tampa Bay Rays celebrated a victory.
What made it even sweeter was that they scored six runs and pounded out 11 hits, which amounted to a slugfest for an offense that has struggled for much of the season.
Kelly Johnson and Shelley Duncan homered, James Loney had three RBIs and the Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 Wednesday night to snap a four-game skid.
The six runs were the most the Rays scored in a game since a 6-0 win over Cleveland on April 6. Following that victory, Tampa Bay lost seven of eight before turning it around against the Orioles.
"We have guys with many abilities within our lineup," manager Joe Maddon said. "What I liked was the swarming offense."
After going 1 for 34 with runners in scoring position in their previous five games, the Rays went 4 for 11 in those situations, including a two-run double in the fourth by Loney that put Tampa Bay ahead for good.
Loney went 3 for 3 to raise his batting average from .167 to .242. Johnson (2 for 5) went from .200 to .229, and Duncan got two hits to boost his average 44 points to .258.
"We have not hit the ball well," Maddon acknowledged. "As we do that, you will see the wins pile up."
The Rays hadn't won since the previous Wednesday, at Texas. Maddon kept insisting it would turn around, and his players bought into it.
"It's early in the year, but this manager deserves a lot of credit for the attitude we show every day," Duncan said.
Maddon was ejected in the fifth inning by umpire Brian Knight, who called Johnson out on a stolen base attempt. Maddon argued that Johnson beat the tag.
Matt Moore (3-0) gave up two runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings. Although his streak of scoreless starts ended at two, the left-hander has accounted for three of the Rays' five wins this season.
"Matty was very good tonight," Maddon said. "I saw most of it from inside, but he had good command. He had nice rhythm throughout the game. We had a couple home runs and did some good things for Matt."
Adam Jones homered, but he was the only Oriole to enjoy success against Moore.
"He was good. I mean, he's not a prospect no more," Jones said. "They needed a big start out of him, and they got it. They swung the bats better than they have in the previous four or five games. They came out and hit some balls. They beat us tonight, pretty pure and simple."
Baltimore starter Chris Tillman (0-1) allowed four runs and six hits in four innings to fall to 1-4 against the Rays.
Johnson put the Rays up 1-0 with a first-inning shot into the right-field seats, his second homer in two games. In the bottom half, Moore struck out Chris Davis with two outs and runners on the corners.
Duncan connected in the second for a 2-0 lead. Both his home runs this season have come against Baltimore.
Jones tied it with a two-run homer in the third. The drive was initially called a double, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter insisted the ball went over the wall and bounced back into play. The umpires adjourned to watch a replay before confirming Showalter's assessment.
Tampa Bay got a pair of clutch hits in the fourth. After Evan Longoria led off with a double and Duncan looped a one-out single to center. As the throw from Jones came home, Duncan continued to second base. Loney followed with a sinking liner that got by Jones, allowing two runs to score.
In the sixth, Yunel Escobar hit a two-out RBI single for a 5-2 lead. The hit ended a 1-for-28 skid and was Escobar's first hit with a runner in scoring position in 15 tries this season.
"Yunel finally gets something to fall in," Maddon said.
Escobar was dropped to the No. 9 spot in the lineup, but Maddon insisted it had nothing to do with his .089 batting average. The manager said before the game that Escobar was "just a couple hits" from breaking the slump and "can do a lot of things" at the bottom of the order.
Loney added an RBI single in the eighth.
NOTES: Rays OF-DH Luke Scott (right calf strain) expressed hope of starting his rehab assignment this weekend, but Maddon said Scott is not that close to being ready. ... Cy Young Award winner David Price (0-1, 5.82 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season Wednesday night for Tampa Bay in the series finale. The Rays were winless in his previous three starts. Miguel Gonzalez (1-1, 2.82) will start for Baltimore. ... Maddon has been ejected a franchise-record 28 times. ... Nolan Reimold went 0 for 4 as the Orioles' designated hitter. Baltimore DHs are 3 for 47 (.064) this season.