Matt Moore allows just 2 hits as Rays shut out Astros to take series
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Dallas Keuchel had only one bad inning Sunday. Matt Moore had none, and that was the difference in the Tampa Bay Rays' 5-0 win over the Houston Astros.
Keuchel, the AL's reigning Cy Young Award winner, became the first major leaguer to lose nine games this season when Moore pitched two-hit ball over seven innings.
"I'm disappointed because Matt Moore was pretty much dominant while I was doing my job correctly," Keuchel said. "Then all of a sudden five runs were on the board."
Moore (3-4) gave up singles to Jose Altuve in the fourth and sixth innings while striking out 10 and walking one. Enny Romero got one out and Tyler Sturdevant completed the two-hitter for the Rays, who have won seven of nine.
"I don't know when the last time was I didn't give up any runs when it was my turn to pitch, so it felt good," said Moore, whose seven innings matched a season high. "I was a little bit irritated coming off the mound. Frustrating feeling. My mindset moving forward was eight-, nine-pitch innings."
Rays manager Kevin Cash recalled that pitching coach Jim Hickey came over after Moore's warmup session in the bullpen and said his curveball looked "tremendous."
"That proved to be very right on," Cash added. "His curveball was a big-time weapon."
Altuve, who had multiple hits for the sixth time in eight games, agreed.
"When you've got a curveball like that and you throw the fastball 96 mph, we're going to have some trouble," he said.
Since Houston joined the AL in 2013, the Rays are 17-7 against the Astros -- pitching eight shutouts.
Tampa Bay used four hits, two walks and a couple of defensive lapses in a five-run fifth inning against Keuchel, who gave up five runs -- four earned -- and five hits in five innings with nine strikeouts and two walks.
Logan Morrison led off the Rays' fifth with a double, only the second hit off Keuchel.
Steven Souza Jr. singled, and Desmond Jennings grounded to shortstop Marwin Gonzalez, who threw to second for the forceout. Altuve's high throw pulled first baseman Tyler White off the bag as Souza scored.
A pair of walks loaded the bases, and Logan Forsythe hit a potential double-play grounder to third baseman Luis Valbuena, who misplayed the ball for an error as Jennings scored.
Mikie Mahtook followed with a two-run single, and Evan Longoria chopped an RBI single through the vacated right side of a shifted infield for a 5-0 lead.
After going 20-8 with a 2.48 ERA last season, Keuchel (3-9) has a 5.54 ERA this year. He is 1-8 with a 6.58 ERA in his last 11 starts, allowing 83 hits in 67 innings, and he is 0-4 in six career starts against Tampa Bay.
SNELL COMING BACK UP
The Rays will recall LHP Blake Snell from Triple-A Durham to start Thursday against the Seattle Mariners. It will be the second major league start and the first at Tropicana Filed for Snell. RHP Matt Andriese will head to the bullpen after going 5-0 in seven starts.
Astros: SS Carlos Correa missed a third straight game because of a sprained left ankle. He took pregame ground balls and swings in a batting cage. "With the off day (Monday), it makes more sense to err on the side of caution," manager A.J. Hinch said.
Rays: RHP Ryan Webb (right pectoral strain) threw a bullpen session. ... OF Brandon Guyer (left hamstring strain) stretched and played catch in the outfield. ... Jennings left in the eighth inning because of left quadriceps tightness.
Astros: RHP Doug Fister is scheduled to start Tuesday night's opener of a two-game series at St. Louis.
Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi is set to pitch Tuesday's opener of three-game series against visiting Seattle. He is 0-1 with a 0.52 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners.