BALTIMORE — Matt Moore certainly didn't seem too excited about becoming the first major-league pitcher to eight wins and first lefty starter to get to 8-0 in more than 15 years after leading the Rays to a series-sweeping 3-1 win over the Orioles on Sunday.
Moore stood at his locker and, with little emotion or even enjoyment showing, talked about needing to be more efficient with his pitches to get deeper into games and how his success was merely a reflection of how well the team played on days he pitched.
"Yeah, I'm excited we came out on the road and we're starting this road trip off right," Moore said. "Winning three games, not two out of three … that's very important for us."
There was that as the sweep moved the Rays to a season-best three games over .500 at 23-20 and, after 29 days in fourth place, into a tie for third with the Orioles. Also encouraging was the bounce-back performance of closer Fernando Rodney, who worked a 1-2-3 10-pitch ninth.
Plus, the Rays came out on the right side of an umpiring controversy. After extended discussions with both mangers, the crew went to the video and correctly changed a Matt Joyce double to a home run.
But the story was Moore, and even if he wanted no part, around the rest of the clubhouse, there was a bit more open acknowledgment of his accomplishments.
"Man, he's awesome," Joyce said. "He's done a great job. With the struggles that we've had here and there, he's really stepped up and been somebody we can count on every time he goes out there to pitch a good game and give us a chance to win."
Manager Joe Maddon, obviously, is thrilled at what Moore has done. But he also seems to dig the way the 23-year-old is playing it.
"He knows he can be better," Maddon said. "I like the idea that there is humility involved. I like the idea that he knows he knows he can get better. I love that. The accountability is tremendous. It doesn't surprise me.
"Of course, historically speaking, it's been wonderful. But there is more in Moore. And he knows that."
What Moore showed Sunday was pretty good, working seven innings and working out of what little trouble he got into, allowing the one run — set up by a miscommunication between outfielders Joyce and Desmond Jennings — and five hits, throwing 106 pitches.
"Matty was good," Maddon said. "He was not all over the place. His command was better.
"And you saw him get deep into that game."
The Rays took a 1-0 lead in the third on Jennings' RBI double. But the Orioles tied it after Jennings didn't hear Joyce call for a liner by Manny Machado, leading to a triple.
A no-doubt homer by Luke Scott made it 2-1. Then after plenty of discussion, Joyce's shot, which hit the top of the rightfield wall and just below the foul pole, extended it to 3-1.
The initial fair call resulted in a double, but both managers came out to argue, Baltimore's Buck Showalter that it was foul, Maddon that it was a home run. But Maddon's protestation came with a caveat. He didn't want a review if it could result in the ball being called foul.
"That was not part of the equation for me," he said.
The umps decided to do the review and stick with whatever it showed, and it turned out to be an easy call.
"Fortunately," Maddon said, "it was."
Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @TBTimes_Rays.
. fast facts
Matt Moore's eighth victory matched David Price's Rays franchise record for the most consecutive wins in a season. Price won eight consecutive decisions last season, when we won the AL Cy Young Award. Comparing their stats during their streaks:
K's per 9 IP9.38.8
Source: ESPN Stats & Info