Live blog: Rays at Rangers, Game 1

30

September

Update 8:01 The Rays add another run in the ninth, with Johnny Damon beating out an infield single to make it 9-0.

RHP Wade Davis, who will be used out of the bullpen in the ALDS, will make his first big-league relief appearance, closing out the ninth inning.

Update 7:43 LHP Matt Moore's spectacular day is done, having thrown seven scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out six. Rookie RHP Brandon Gomes is in to start the bottom of the eighth.

Update 7:30: LHP Matt Moore has thrown seven shutout innings, allowing just two hits, against the Rangers, arguably the top offense in the AL. Impressive stuff.

Moore has now tossed 14 consecutive scoreless innings, including five against the Yankees in his first big-league start.

Rays 8, Rangers 0 (8th)

Update 7:06: Think the Rangers are desperate to get a run against Rays rookie LHP Matt Moore? Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton laid down a bunt in the sixth (likely to beat the defensive shift), but also  to get Elvis Andrus to second base. But Andrus was stranded at third after a Young groundout and Beltre fly out.

Moore has allowed just two hits (both to Hamilton) through seven.

Rays 8, Rangers 0 (7th)

Update 6:55: Quick quiz: Which two Rays have the most RBI in a single postseason game? C Kelly Shoppach just tied Willy Aybar (Game 4, 2008 ALCS) with his fifth RBI.

Update 6:44 "Ripped and Ready" C Kelly Shoppach just ripped a two-run homer in the fifth inning - -his second home run of the game, to give the Rays an 8-0 lead.

Shoppach, a Fort Worth native who grew up three exits from teh stadium, now has five homers in his last seven games.

Rays 8, Rangers 0

Update 6:29 Moore got in his first signs of trouble in the fourth, allowing a leadoff double to OF Josh Hamilton (who is now 2-for-2). But after getting Michael Young to line out, Hamilton made a baserunning blunder - straying too far off second - and Sean Rodriguez tagged him out after fielding a Beltre grounder.

Beltre advanced to second but was stranded when Moore struck out hot-hitting C Mike Napoli, his fourth K through four.

Rays 6, Rangers 0 (5th)

Update 6:18: LHP Matt Moore has allowed just one hit, and one walk while striking out three in three innings against the Rangers, arguably the top offense in the AL.

In the meantime, Rangers All-Star LHP C.J. Wilson has given up more runs in three innings (6) than he gave up against the Rays in three previous games this season.

Update 6:02: Best play for Rangers today? In third inning, a fan jumps out on grass behind CF wall, caught Shoppach's homer in stride, and made a great throw back onto field, with the ball nearly beating Shoppach to second on his home-run trot.

Was that Henry Rowengartner in center field?

Shoppach's three-run homer makes it 6-0 Rays

Update 5:58 Switching to one of my other jobs, the Bucs have sold out their Monday Night Football game against the Colts next week. That'll break the blackout streak!

Update 5:56 The Rays had just five hits against Wilson the last time he faced them - in a complete-game shutout earlier in September. Tampa Bay just picked up its fifth hit (in just three innings) and the Rangers already have RHP Scott Feldman warming up in the bullpen.

Update 5:50: Was talking with MLB Network analyst - and former big league manager - Larry Bowa the other day, and what he said was so impressive with LHP Matt Moore was that he has "unbelievable late life" on his fastball. And you saw that right there in the 2nd inning, when Moore blew three straight fastballs - 97 mph, 96, 97 - right by Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz.

Rays 3, Rangers 0 (3rd inning)

Update 5:47 What makes Rangers LHP C.J. Wilson one of the best lefthanders in the league is his unique ability to pitch - and command - both sides of the plate. But he's off today, having already thrown 35 pitches, 20 for strikes.

Update 5:39 RF Matt Joyce hits a single just past the outstretched glove of a diving 2B Ian Kinsler, scoring Kelly Shoppach from second.

Maddon has given Joyce a few more opportunities vs. lefties late in the season, pointing out he can run into one and hit a homer.

Rays 3, Rangers 0 (2nd inning)

Update 5:37 OF Desmond Jennings was moved down in the order from the leadoff spot because manager Joe Maddon wanted to take some pressure off of him, considering the rookie entered today in a 3-for-40 slump in his last 10 games. Jennings is in the 8-hole today.

That was a pretty good swing by him in the second, ripping a long fly ball to the warning track in left.

Update 5:34: LHP C.J. Wilson has been dominating against the Rays the past two years, going 5-0. But he hasn't looked as sharp today, including hitting Ben Zobrist with a pitch here in the second.

In his complete game shutout against the Rays Sept 6, Wilson allowed just five hits. He's given up two already today.

Update 5:32 p.m. DH Johnny Damon gives the Rays a huge lift with a two-run homer off Rays-killer LHP C.J. Wilson. It was a 3-1 pitch and went into the rightfield stands, knocking in Ben Zobrist (who was hit by a pitch).

2-0 Rays

Update 5:28 p.m. LHP Matt Moore looks good in his first inning, allowing just one hit to OF Josh Hamilton, but hitting 98 mph on his fastball.

Developing: The Rays are facing the Rangers in Arlington for Game 1 of the ALDS. Rookie LHP Matt Moore will make just his second-big league start. We'll be live blogging, so feel free to send your questions and comments (you can always email me too, joesmith@sptimes.com)

-- JOE SMITH

joesmith@sptimes.com

 

[Last modified: Sunday, October 30, 2011 12:15am]

    

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