Matt Moore Loses Control, Tigers Maul Rays 10-1
Matt Moore (8-1, 2.95 ERA) was ineffective for the first time in 2013 and the Tigers took full advantage en route to a 6-3 victory over the Rays in the opening game of their 3-game series. The loss drops the Rays to 31 -26 on the year. Anibal Sanchez (6-5, 2.65 ERA) earned the victory for the Tigers to improve their record to 31-25.
Matt Moore entered the game with a clean win loss record of 8-0 and an ERA of 2.18. He had held the opposition to a .178 batting average against, he had only allowed 1 hit with runner in scoring position in 23 times leading to a league high 91.1% strand rate. He had only walked 28 in his 62 innings of work and struck out 57. On Tuesday night he wasn’t the same Matt Moore who put up those numbers over his first 11 starts as he lasted only 2 innings allowing 6R/ER on 7 hits while striking out 1 and walking 6.
Highlight Of the Night: Alex Torres was summoned from the bullpen with the bases loaded and the heart of the Tigers lineup due up. Torii Hunter grounded to Evan Longoria who came home for the force out for the first out. Miguel Cabrera worked the count in his favor 3-0 and but was fooled and swung through a 83 mph change up and then struck out swinging on a 93 mph fastball. Now with 2-outs the only thing standing between Torres working out of this jam and keeping the Rays within striking distance or the Tigers putting the game out of reach was Prince Fielder. Like a seasoned veteran Torres showed no fear in attacking Fielder and struck him out swinging.
For Alex Torres this was just a continuation of an impressive string of performances in 2013 going 2 scoreless hitless innings striking out 3 and walking o. In his 3 previous appearances he had delivered 10.1 scoreless innings of work allowing, 1-hit while striking out 12 and walking only 3.
Kyle Farnsworth entered the game in the 5th inning and his struggles continued. After retiring the first two hitters of the inning he allowed a solo homer to Omar Infante which put the Tigers up 7-1. Farnsworth came out to begin the bottom of the 6th for the Rays but after giving up a single to Miguel Cabrera to lead off the inning he was replaced by left hander Cesar Ramos to face the left handed hitting Prince Fielder.
Ramos uncorked a wild pitch that Jose Molina couldn’t locate and when he did Cabrera had hustled and advanced from 1st to 3rd. Taking the extra base paid off for the Tigers as Prince Fielder hit a sacrifice fly to score Cabrera from third and extended the Tiger lead to 8-1. Ramos worked two scoreless innings and was replaced by Jamey Wright.
Wright retired Miguel Cabrera on a ball that hit just off the end of the bat but Prince Fielder found the sweet spot and drove the ball over the wall in right to push the Tiger lead to 9-1. The Tigers added their 10th run on 3 consecutive hits by Victor Martinez, Jhonny Peralta, and Don Kelly.
The Rays jumped out on top 1-0 in the 2nd inning on a sacrifice fly by Desmond Jennings to plate Evan Longoria who had led off the inning with a triple but that’s all they would get off Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez who held the Rays potent offense in check allowing 1R/ER on 4 hits over 7 innings of work striking out 9 and walking 1. The Rays did not fare any better against the Tigers relievers Luke Putkonen and Phil Coke who worked the final two scoreless innings.