The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Minnesota Twins by a final score of 4-3 sweeping the 4 game series and extending their winning streak to 8 games. The victory improves the Rays to a season high 13 games over .500 at 53-40. The Twins leave town after losing their 5th game in a row and they fall to 37-52 on the year.
There were only 12 hours and 13 minutes between the final out last night and the first pitch of the series finale today. The short turn around did not seem to bother Matt Moore who was sent home early to make sure that he was fresh for today’s start.
Moore (13-3, 3,44 ERA) delivered a performance worthy of an All-Star working 7.1 innings allowing just 3R/ER on 3 hits while striking out 10 and walking 2. After the game Joe Maddon noted that his command was there today. “This was like wrapping it all into a nice little packge because there’s always been these little odds and ends that have been missing.”
After the game he was named to the 2013 All Star team replacing Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish who was placed on the disabled list. Moore said, “I’m really excited. The best [part] about it was after I found out I was in Joe’s office and came out of the room, I opened up the door and everyone was waiting there…ust to celebrate and stuff…It really was pretty shocking.”
With the win he became the first Rays pitcher to win 13 games before the All-Star break. The victory felt particularly good for Moore but not as important as the team victory. “It feels great. I think the bigger thing is just to keep the ball rolling. That’s what we talk about a lot on this staff. Just to avoid the scuffles and to stop those things and when we’re going good, just to keep it going.”
He described his outing as “smooth and efficient. Those first five innings, things were just happening. I was throwing the ball for the most part wherever I wanted to. Actually my pregame bullpen was pretty bad…to be able to go out there and to make some things happen out there like that early and get us in teh dugout pretty quick, it means a lot, especially when we’re on a streak right now.”
The Rays used three straight singles to jump out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Sean Rodriguez got the rally started with a 1-out single, he moved to second an a Matt Joyce excuse me swing infield single, and came in to score on a Wil Myers single.
The Twins tied the game in the top of the 6th inning. With 2-out in the inning Brian Dozier doubled just past the outstretched arm of Evan Longoria for the Twins first hit of the game. Jamey Carroll followed up with an RBI single to center field to drive in Dozier with the tying run. The run was the first earned run given up by Moore in 22.1 innings, a career high, and the 4th longest scoreless inning streak in franchise history.
The Rays entered the game tied for 7th in the majors with 102 home runs and since June 7th their 39 home runs were tied for the major league lead with 39. The Rays improved on both of those totals in the bottom of the 6th inning when Luke Scott and Evan Longoria blasted back-to-back home runs to give the Rays a 3-1 lead.
For Longoria it was his first extra base hit and first home run since June 22nd against C.C. Sabathia and the New York Yankees. The 14 game drought between extra base hits was the longest stretch of his career.
After the game Scott was asked about the distance of his home run and said, “If it goes over in the first row or the 30th, it counts the same. But it feels good to get a hold of the ball more solid like that.” He felt that it was a big home run because it gave the Rays a lead. He also said “it was reminiscent of 2010 before when I had that snap in my bat and my hands so things are starting to come together my swing that way.”
Alex Torres replaced Moore and retired Brian Dozier but walked Ryan Doumit to load the bases before falling behind Joe Mauer 3-0 but came back to get the count full but Mauer dropped an opposite field 2-RBI single to cut the Rays lead to 4-3 and end Torres afternoon. Joel Peralta came in and struck out Trevor Plouffe to end the inning.
Jake McGee came in to work the ninth inning to record his first major league save.
The Rays will begin their final home series before the All-Star break against the Houston Astros tomorrow and will have David Price (3-4, 4.18 ERA) on the mound against Jarred Cosart who is making his major league debut.