ST. PETERSBURG — Outfielder Brandon Guyer had a quiet first 10 games of the season, with just one hit in 11 at-bats as the Rays faced mostly right-handed pitchers in a 3-7 start.
But Sunday, for the second game in a row, Guyer started against a White Sox lefty and helped the Rays to victory, going 4-for-4, scoring two runs and driving in the other in a 3-2 win at Tropicana Field.
"It was just good to see lefties, because it's been a while since I've seen lefties, let alone any pitcher," said Guyer, who reached base eight times in the two wins. "The more reps I can get, the better. … It means a lot, especially because we won."
The Rays (5-7) got another strong outing from starter Matt Moore, who struck out 10 and held the White Sox to three hits in the first six innings. He got eight straight outs via strikeout, getting ahead early and throwing 67 of 107 pitches for strikes before a crowd of 21,810.
"I think I was doing a good job of getting ahead, getting them into swing mode," Moore said. "That helps my secondary pitches be more effective. I do feel strong right now, which is something that in the last 24 months has not been a word I've used a lot."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura was impressed.
"We've been struggling, but I don't know too many teams that would go up against Moore and do anything," he said. "He was fantastic."
Moore put two runners on in the seventh, but relievers Enny Romero and Alex Colome did the rest, throwing 22/3 innings of hitless, scoreless relief. Colome got the final five outs for his first career save — in the majors or minors — and the Rays' first of the season.
The White Sox came to town 7-2 and lost two of three to the Rays, who won their first series of the season, though Sunday's wasn't an easy one.
Guyer was the spark early, singling in the first and scoring on Steve Pearce's double. In the third, tied at 1, his single scored Logan Forsythe, who had doubled, then Guyer scored on a fortunate break for the Rays. White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana missed the bag for an error as he covered first on a Logan Morrison ground ball, allowing what would end up the winning run to score.
"Brando is such a huge part of our lineup," manager Kevin Cash said. "It has probably taken a lot of patience on his end, sitting through this early part of the season, but it's great these lefties got clumped in there for him. … It was nice to have the chance and show how he can highly impact our lineup like he did" Sunday.
When Guyer hit a solo home run in the third inning Saturday, it ended a 21-inning scoreless streak for the Rays, and he would reach base three more times, twice on walks and once getting hit by a pitch. With four hits Sunday, he became the first Rays player to reach base four times in back-to-back games since Evan Longoria in April 2015.
In those first 10 games of the season, the Rays led at the end of just eight total innings out of 90, but with early runs from Guyer this weekend, they've led after each of their past 16 innings.
The Rays get today off before heading north for a six-game road swing at Boston and New York. They won't face another lefty until Thursday, and even then, it will be a formidable challenge in former Rays ace David Price, now with the Red Sox.
Contact Greg Auman at [email protected] and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.