ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Matt Moore pitched up to the lofty recent standards set by the Tampa Bay pitching staff. And when the Rays added some hits and runs, that made things look easy.
Moore threw six sharp innings, Jose Lobaton drove in three runs and the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-1 Thursday for a three-game sweep.
“Our staff and our entire lineup right now, we’re playing well,” Moore said after winning in the finale of a six-game homestand. “It’s a very good time for us in this clubhouse, and there’s a lot of looking forward to going on the road right now.”
Moore (9-7) gave up one run and two hits, retiring 14 straight batters during one stretch. He won his third straight start, striking out six and walking two.
That kind of pitching has become routine for the Rays, who have allowed more than one run in only six of their last 19 games.
Hitting has been another matter. The Rays took the AL’s worst batting average (.230) and lowest scoring output (441 runs) into the game, but Evan Longoria drove in two runs and had three hits.
Jeff Keppinger also had three of Tampa Bay’s 13 hits. The Rays got seven runs after scoring only nine in he first five games of the homestand.
Longoria, who missed 85 games with a partially turn hamstring, came inches short of his first home run since April. His RBI double in the eighth inning was close enough for the umpire crew to review before determining it had bounced off a rail and back into play.
It would have been the Rays’ first home run in five games.