The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays by a final score of 5-1. The victory is the 3rd in a row for the Rays and improves their record to 41-37. The Blue Jays drop their second game in a row after winning their previous 11 and their record falls to 38-38 on the season.
Matt Moore (10-3, 3.95) was effectively wild in his 6 innings of work allowing just 1R/ER on 4 hits striking out 11 and walking 6. He threw a career high 120 pitches (previous high 118 on 04/22/2013 vs New York Yankees), 70 for strikes, and 22 swing and misses. He struck out 11 Blue Jays matching his career high set against the New York Yankees in his first career start on September 22, 2011.
Moore came out and looked dominant in retiring the Blue Jays in the first inning on just 16 pitches but had control issues in the 2nd and 3rd throwing 25 and 28 pitches respectively. His pitch count had run up to 69 after 3 innings and he had 5 of his 6 walks in the first 3 frames. He got better as the game progressed only needing 15 and 13 pitches to get through the 4th and 5th inning and finally 23 to work out of a jam in the 6th.
About Moore’s control issues Joe Maddon said “He’s gonna walk some people and that’s eventually go away – but in the meantime he’s going to walk some people and you have to accept that. While he’s walking people as long as they just don’t beat him up with hits too. That did not happen he did not give up a lot of hits tonight while he was walking people that’s the secret there as to how he was able to survive all those walks.”
The Rays offense had plenty of opportunities to score delivering 11 hits and drawing 7 runs but were only able to push across 5 runs. Trailing 1-0 in the 2nd inning Desmond Jennings singled in James Loney who had singled off Mark Buehrle (4-5, 4.73 ERA) and advance to second on a wild pitch to tie the game at 1-1.
The Rays extended their lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the 4th. Jose Molina led off the inning with a walk, Kelly Johnson was hit by a pitch, and Desmond Jennings singled to load the bases. Sean Rodriguez hit a fly ball to shallow right field. Molina tagged up and appeared to be nailed at the plate but averted the tag by J.P. Arencibia with a swim move to put the Rays ahead 2-1 and both Kelly Johnson and Desmond Jennings took advantage of the play and moved into scoring position.
Ben Zobrist followed Sean Rodriguez‘s sacrifice fly with one of his own driving in Kelly Johnson to give the Rays the 3-1 lead and Desmond Jennings moved up to 3rd base. Rather than face Evan Longoria with 1st base open John Gibbons elected to do intentionally walk Longoria to get to rookie Wil Myers. Myers made the Jays pay by singling in Jennings from 3rd and extending the Rays lead to 4-1.
The Rays tacked on a final run in the bottom of the 7th on a ground out to 1st to score Yunel Escobar from 3rd. The inning was set up by back to back singled by Yunel Escobar and James Loney. Escobar noticed that Jays pitcher Brett Cecil was not paying attention to him on the bases so he stole 3rd and James Loney moved up to 2nd.