NEW YORK (AP) — Even though he wasn’t on the mound all that long, Matt Moore gave the Rays plenty of reasons to be encouraged.
Back in the majors for the first time in a month, Moore showed the lively fastball and sweeping slider that made him an All-Star two years ago. The 26-year-old lefty was pulled in the fifth inning one out short of qualifying for a win, but the Tampa Bay bullpen held off the New York Yankees for a 3-2 victory Saturday.
"I thought he was outstanding. I was happy for him. In my opinion, he looked like a different guy," manager Kevin Cash said. "That was a definite bright spot, to see where he is right now."
Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run single and Kevin Kiermaier had an RBI single as the Rays handed Nathan Eovaldi (14-3) his first loss since mid-June, snapping the right-hander’s nine-game winning streak.
Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria left with a bruised right forearm, three innings after he was hit by a pitch. He said gripping the ball to throw became a bigger problem than swinging a bat, but he expects to play Sunday.
"It actually feels a lot better now after some treatment and ice. I’m fairly certain I’ll be able to go," Longoria said.
On the fringe of the AL wild-card race, the Rays improved to 6-9 against the Yankees this year.
An All-Star in 2013 when he went 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA, Moore came back from Tommy John surgery on July 2 this season. He went 1-3 with an 8.78 ERA in six big league starts before getting sent to the minors to find his form.
Down at Triple-A Durham, he was 2-1 with a 3.30 ERA in five starts. He struck out 16 batters in six innings on Aug. 22.
Moore returned to the majors at Yankee Stadium, where he struck out 11 over five shutout innings in his first career start on Sept. 22, 2011.
This time, he gave up Didi Gregorius’ run-scoring double and Brett Gardner’s RBI groundout in the fifth. He was pulled after 79 pitches following his second walk in the inning.
Moore, however, allowed only two runs and three hits — both season lows.
"Cash told me as soon as I got here that we’re going to manage the game to win it and not necessarily to get me to a certain pitch count," Moore said. "So I understand it right there, and I had my shot at getting out of the fifth. If I wouldn’t have had a leadoff walk, then things may have been different."
Xavier Cedeno (4-1) struck out four in 1 2-3 hitless innings, and Brad Boxberger got three quick outs for his AL-high 34th save in 39 chances.
Alex Colome loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth, but Didi Gregorius lined out to second baseman Logan Forsythe and whipped his bat toward the dugout in frustration.
"The roar of the crowd and then the ensuing silence, I knew that he was definitely out," Boxberger said.
Eovaldi was 9-0 with a 3.32 ERA in his previous 13 starts, the longest winning streak in the majors this season.
New York, which leads the AL wild-card hunt, fell 1 1/2 games behind first-place Toronto in the East. The Blue Jays beat Baltimore 5-1.
Rays: Longoria was removed in the bottom of the sixth and is day to day. He was hit near the elbow by a 98 mph fastball from Eovaldi and scored in the third. Richie Shaffer replaced Longoria. … OF Steven Souza Jr. (broken left hand) was set to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham. Souza was scheduled to play for the Bulls in the final three games of their season, the first two at DH and then one in the outfield. After that, the club will determine if he’s ready to rejoin the Rays in Detroit next week.
Yankees: CF Jacoby Ellsbury still wasn’t feeling all that well after leaving Friday night’s game with an upset stomach, manager Joe Girardi said. Ellsbury struck out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and flied to left for the final out. "I expect he will be in there tomorrow," Girardi said.
Rays rookie catcher Luke Maile went 0 for 3 in his first major league start. Cash paired Moore with Maile because they worked together at Durham.
Rays: All-Star RHP Chris Archer (12-10, 2.78 ERA) is 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA in eight career starts against the Yankees. He is 9-3 on the road this season and has not permitted a run in his past two starts away from home.
Yankees: RHP Ivan Nova (5-7, 4.50) starts the series finale Sunday. He has lost three in a row after winning four of five.