ST. PETERSBURG — As former key Rays now working for the Dodgers, outfielder Carl Crawford, reliever J.P. Howell and top baseball executive Andrew Friedman made their rounds at the Trop on Tuesday, hugging, shaking hands with and chatting up their old mates.
Scott Kazmir, another ex-Ray now wearing blue, delivered his greeting from the mound in the Dodgers' 10-5 win.
Kazmir worked effectively into the seventh, allowing four runs but only seven hits while striking out nine, in picking up the 100th win of a career that started in August 2004 with the Devil Rays.
"It always feels great to come back here after all the memories and stuff," said Kazmir, now 2-4 against the Rays. "It's always nice."
Especially when you pitch well.
"He's deceptive," Rays catcher Curt Casali said. "I think the strike was a little bigger than we're normally accustomed to tonight, but you've got to battle off him. He throws a lot of fastballs. It moves a little bit, it misses barrels. The ones he leaves over the plate are the ones you have to punish. … He just didn't make a lot of mistakes tonight."
That would be in direct contrast to Rays starter Matt Moore, who was disappointed in his performance with men on base and in twice giving up runs after the Rays scored. For the night, Moore lasted only 41/3 innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits, including a pair of second-inning homers.
"It was a pretty poor job on myself keeping us in this game," Moore said. "After we go out and score in the bottom of the first and I go out and give up three in the top of the second is real bad. And to compound that and give up those runs there in the fifth (after the Rays had tied it at 3), I've got to be better than that. I've got to be able to stop that way before it gets to be a four-run inning."
That was where the game got away. Casali hit a two-run homer in the fourth to get the Rays even. But Moore started by walking leadoff man Kike Hernandez after being ahead 0-and-2 and it got worse, quickly, from there. Yasiel Puig smoked a grounder to third that took a tough bounce and went off Evan Longoria's bare hand for a single. A one-out walk to Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases.
Howie Kendrick, as part of a 4-for-5 night, lashed a double to left that scored two, his first RBIs of the season in his 59th at-bat. Two pitches later, Trayce Thompson — whose brother, Klay, plays for the NBA's Warriors and whose father, Mychal, was a longtime NBA star — beat the Rays' shift with a ground ball single to the right of second that scored two more and made it 7-3.
"I've got to be better in those situations," said Moore after his worst outing of the season.
As the Rays lost for the fourth time in five games and dropped to 11-14, some of their offensive woes are getting more glaring.
Desmond Jennings was 0-for-4, extending his hitless streak to 0-for-24, two shy of his career worst. Steven Souza Jr. also continued his skid with an 0-for-4, now 2-for-his-last-21 with 12 strikeouts. Outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson, after a last-gasp bases-loaded-in-the-ninth pinch-hit flyout, is in a career-worst 0-for-19.