Sunday, December 17, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Matt Moore survives one wild inning in strong start

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays needed a long outing from LHP Matt Moore on Sunday, but he was sitting at 50 pitches after using 37 to get through the second inning.

But Moore recovered to pitch seven innings in a 5-0 victory over the Astros at Tropicana Field.

"For us in the second inning to (make 37 pitches) and come back and still be in the seventh inning is something to hang your hat on," Moore said.

It was the second straight start of seven innings for Moore. He allowed two hits, struck out 10 and threw a season-high 114 pitches.

"He was on pace to probably go five innings, max out right there just because of the pitch count alone, no matter how good he's pitching," manager Kevin Cash said. "But he did a tremendous job of resetting, attacking the strike zone and getting some outs."

Moore retired the Astros in order four times, given him seven perfect innings in his past two starts. He failed to do that in the 31 innings leading up to his previous start.

He faced only five batters in that 37-pitch second inning. He walked two while the Astros fouled off 15 pitches.

"He was tremendous," Cash said.

PRAYERS FOR ORLANDO VICTIMS: There was a moment of silence before the game for the victims in the deadly shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. The Rays are trying to coordinate a blood drive with OneBlood during this homestand.

"We're excited in here (for the win), but given what's taken place late last night in Orlando, so we know we got a lot of support over there, thinking about them very much," Cash said. "I think that is the most important thing of the day."

JENNINGS LEAVES WITH INJURY: CF Desmond Jennings left the game after the fifth inning with left quad tightness.

Cash said Jennings was injured while running down a fly ball in the top of the inning. Cash said he does not believe it is serious.

"It just made the most sense," Cash said. "The game had somewhat separated, 5-0 there, let's get him out, because of the way he's swinging the bat, the way he's playing, we just want him to feel real good so he can get back out there real quick."

A BIG INNING: The Rays scored all their runs in the fifth inning. The big hit was a two-run single by LF Mikie Mahtook.

The Astros' failure to turn a double play on a one-out grounder to short by Jennings and an error by 3B Luis Valbuena on Logan Forsythe's grounder made for a rough inning for LHP Dallas Keuchel, who threw 35 pitches in the inning.

So did two-out walks to Tim Beckham and Curt Casali.

It was the most runs the Rays scored in one inning this season at the Trop.

"The quality of at-bats that we pieced together that one inning I think makes a statement about what we're trying to accomplish," Cash said. "We had the walks. We moved the ball. Put balls in play. Logan Forsythe hit the ball hard. We know it's an error, but it's put the ball in play and see what happens, and a lot of times good things will."

NOTEWORTHY: It was the team's fourth shutout of the season and the third at home. It has allowed two or fewer hits in three of those shutouts. … 2B Jose Altuve had both of the Astros' hits.

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