ST. PETERSBURG — For spending his 27th birthday having a stressful day at work, LHP Matt Moore ended up having a decent day, allowing only two runs over six-plus innings in a 6-4 loss Saturday to the Giants.
"I'm pretty happy with the way things worked out today," he said.
That was relative to how they could have been.
In the fourth inning, inexplicable miscommunication between OFs Corey Dickerson and Mikie Mahtook let a routine fly to left-center drop. That led to animated discussion between them in the dugout afterward, but more pressing, it left Moore in a jam, which he escaped impressively by striking out Matt Duffy, Brandon Crawford and Angel Pagan with 12 pitches.
Then Moore created a mess in the fifth, loading the bases on a walk and two singles, then forcing in a run by hitting Joe Panik with an 0-2 pitch. But 1B Logan Morrison snagged Brandon Belt's hot smash and doubled Denard Span off second, and Dickerson redeemed himself by charging in to make a sliding catch to bail Moore out.
Moore has worked six-plus innings in three straight starts after five or fewer five times in his previous six, and lowered his ERA to 4.90.
"Good signs by Matt Moore," manager Kevin Cash said.
Power ball: All four Rays runs came on solo homers, by Evan Longoria, Brad Miller, Morrison and Logan Forsythe. It was the first time the Rays lost when hitting four or more homers since September 2014. "Just wish a couple of those homers would've had some guys on base," Cash said.
Longoria has 17 homers, on pace for a career-high 42, and eight in June, two shy of his team record for a month. Miller's homer was estimated at 429 feet by MLB StatCast; he is averaging 420. Forsythe homered for the first time since April 30, before his DL stint.
Cobb "very happy": RHP Alex Cobb was excited going into his first session throwing to hitters since May 2015 Tommy John elbow surgery, and even more so after the 15-fastball session to Tim Beckham and Brandon Guyer.
"I'm very happy with how my arm felt," Cobb said.
Specifically, he was "absolutely excited" about the command of his fastball, as well as his offspeed pitches in prior throwing.
Cash also was pleased: "The way he located the baseball really excites you quite a bit."
Cobb will throw two or three more batting practice sessions, with an increased workload, on a five-day schedule, then advance to a rehab start program, with the goal of rejoining the Rays rotation by late July or early August. A key is building endurance; he was admittedly fatigued by his session in full uniform.
"Definitely got tired," Cobb said. "I still have to build up endurance, but I'm very happy with how my body felt overall compared to times in the past when I've been building up."
Relief report: RHP Ryan Webb (right pec strain) moved up to Triple-A Durham for his second rehab appearance Saturday night, allowing the game's only run on two hits and a walk in the eighth. At least a third outing is planned. … RHP Andrew Bellatti, sidelined at Durham since late April with shoulder issues, should be off the DL this week, giving the Rays another potential bullpen option. … RHP Ryne Stanek, a 2013 first-round draft pick who has battled injuries, was shifted to a relief role for Double-A Montgomery.
Miscellany: INF Riley Unroe, C Mac James and RHP Brian Miller represented the Stone Crabs in Saturday's advanced Class A Florida State League All-Star Game in Fort Myers. … Longtime Rays minor-league RHP Albert Suarez started and worked 42/3 innings for the Giants. … Attendance was 23,948 with a postgame concert by the Fray.