Moore shines as Rays sweep Orioles
The Baltimore Orioles insist upon being philosophical about their five-game losing streak, because the last thing they want to do is start pressing to win.
Matt Moore pitched seven innings of five-hit ball to stay unbeaten, Luke Scott and Matt Joyce homered and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Orioles 3-1 Sunday for a three-game sweep.
After dropping a pair to the San Diego Padres at Camden Yards, the Orioles were outscored 22-16 in the first two games of this series before Moore’s dominating performance in the finale.
”Pitching wasn’t the issue today,” manager Buck Showalter said. ”It was trying to solve Moore. He was the difference-maker.”
Moore (8-0) gave up one run, struck out three and walked one to become the first eight-game winner in the majors. The left-hander has won nine straight decisions, breaking the franchise record of eight set last year by Price.
Not only that, but the 23-year-old is the youngest lefty to start the season 8-0 since Babe Ruth did it in 1917 at age 22.
”Historically speaking, it’s been wonderful,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Moore’s season.
Baltimore’s month, meanwhile, has taken an abrupt turn. But no one is ready to panic, not after only 43 games.
”Every team is going to go through their losses, whether it’s five in a row, six, seven,” right fielder Nick Markakis said. ”It doesn’t make a difference. We know that we’re in a tough stretch right now. We’ve got to put it past us. Every team has gone through their troubles, we’re in ours right now, and we’ve got to fight through it and move on. We’ve got a lot of baseball left.”
The Rays’ ninth victory in 11 games left them a season-high three games over .500 (23-20) and lifted Tampa Bay into a third-place tie with skidding Baltimore in the AL East. The Rays had been in fourth since April 20.
Adam Jones had two hits, stole two bases and drove in a run for the Orioles, who managed only five hits – none after the sixth inning.
”He’s dealing right now,” Jones said of Moore.
Chris Tillman (3-2) allowed three runs and five hits in six innings. He’s 1-5 lifetime against the Rays.
Tampa Bay led 2-1 in the sixth inning when Joyce hit a drive that appeared to bounce off the wall near the right-field foul pole. First base umpire Dan Iassogna called it a fair ball but not a home run.
Showalter argued that it was a foul ball and Maddon contended it was a home run.
”It’s kind of unusual for us both to be out there at the same time,” Maddon said. ”I had to argue the point that it could be a home run.”
After a lengthy meeting, the umpires adjourned to watch a replay and returned with their decision: home run.
”I’ve got a guy who lets me know if I have a good argument, so I knew once they went inside it was going to be a home run,” Showalter said.
Moore and the Tampa Bay bullpen made the 3-1 lead stand up. Joel Peralta worked a perfect eighth and Fernando Rodney got three straight outs for his eighth save.
Neither team had a base runner until Yunel Escobar drew a two-out walk in the third. Desmond Jennings followed with an RBI double on a 3-2 pitch.
In the bottom half, Danny Valencia hit a leadoff double in his first at-bat with Baltimore but was stranded.
One inning later, Manny Machado was credited with a triple after Jennings and Joyce nearly collided on a line drive to right that ticked off Joyce’s glove and rolled to the wall. Jones followed with a run-scoring single, then stole two bases but was left at third.
Scott, who played for Baltimore from 2008-11, connected in the fifth for a 2-1 lead. He has at least one RBI in nine of 13 starts this season.
NOTES: Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games. … Tampa Bay has held the lead in 30 of its past 31 games. … The Rays recalled LHP Jeff Beliveau from Triple-A Durham and optioned LHP Alex Torres to the same club. Beliveau was sent back to Durham to make room for RHP Jake Odorizzi, who will be recalled Monday to start an afternoon game in Toronto. It will be his debut with the Rays. … The Orioles recalled Valencia from Triple-A Norfolk after sending 2B Ryan Flaherty to Norfolk after Saturday’s game. … Baltimore opens a three-game series Monday night against the AL East-leading New York Yankees. Freddy Garcia will start for the Orioles. … Jones has been successful on all seven stolen base attempts this season.