Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Moore's day doomed by five-run fourth

BOSTON — Rays left-hander Matt Moore didn't get much help from his defense Friday, but the All-Star shouldered his share of the blame in the 12-2 loss to the Red Sox in the ALDS opener, giving up eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits in just 4 1/3 innings.

"There are going to be things that happen over the course of the game that don't go your way," Moore said. "I have to be better than five runs in that inning, regardless. … That's my job, to move past those things and stop the bleeding."

There was plenty of bleeding, as it was the most runs a Rays starter has allowed in a postseason game and the most earned runs since RHP James Shields gave up seven Oct. 11, 2011, against the Rangers.

It actually had started off well for Moore, who stranded a runner at second in each of the first two innings. He was effectively wild in holding the Red Sox hitless through three. Moore was handed a 2-0 lead in the fourth, but Dustin Pedroia led off with a single.

"It took a couple innings to break the ice," Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes said. "But once (Pedroia) got that hit up the middle, I think it took a lot of questions out."

The Rays made several defensive miscues during the Red Sox's five-run rally. The biggest was rookie rightfielder Wil Myers backing off a David Ortiz fly ball at the last moment, allowing it to bounce on the warning track and over the wall for a double. Myers said he saw centerfielder Desmond Jennings out of the corner of his eye and ceded to him.

Moore said Myers' mistake didn't impact his thinking in the following at-bats. He liked his matchup with Gomes, who hit a two-run double, and pointed out he made a defensive mistake of his own, not covering first base in time on Stephen Drew's slow roller, leading to an infield single and another run.

"I still felt like I was in a good situation," he said. "I was looking to do a lot better than I did."

Moore also walked two, threw a wild pitch and hit a batter. But manager Joe Maddon said he liked what he saw, saying Moore had to get "six legitimate outs" in the fourth," an "unfortunate inning" that skewed his 106-pitch outing.

"He was throwing the ball well," Maddon said. "He gave up a couple of fly balls that hit the wall, and that was about it. I never saw him as being in trouble. … He could have pitched really deep in that game if we had done better in that inning, just playing normal defense."

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