Sunday, April 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay Rays fall 9-5 to Oakland Athletics, lose two of three in home series

ST. PETERSBURG — The day couldn't have started better for the Rays, with rookie left-hander Matt Moore cruising in a 10-pitch first inning and his offense backing him up with four runs in the bottom half.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time, that's a 'W,' " shortstop Sean Rodriguez said.

"We were rolling," rightfielder Matt Joyce said. "Pretty much the mind-set was, we're going to have a good game. There's really no chance for them to win."

But Moore "saw things get out of hand pretty quickly," allowing eight runs in 42/3 innings as the Rays lost 9-5 to the A's on Sunday in front of 23,873 at Tropicana Field.

"Our guys put up plenty of runs, we had every bit to slam that door shut and just put that game out of reach," Moore said. "And I just let us down."

Though Tampa Bay (19-10) finished its homestand 5-2, it ended by dropping two straight to snap a five-series winning streak and falling out of first place in the American League East, a half-game behind the Orioles.

The Rays also lost leadoff man Desmond Jennings, whose status is in question after leaving in the second inning with left knee soreness.

But the biggest story line was Moore, who continues to struggle with his fastball command. This time his problems led to the shortest start of his career.

Neither the Rays nor Moore appear concerned. Manager Joe Maddon said the 22-year-old is going through the typical "inconsistencies of youth," similar to what left-hander David Price and others have dealt with.

"I don't want to say almost expected, but it's not surprising that something like this happened," Maddon said. "We have to keep working with him, keep showing support. And when we do that, he's going to come out the other side."

Moore (1-2, 5.71 ERA) said he physically feels fine and hasn't lost confidence. He is most disappointed that the team has won just two of his six starts, even though he has pitched with the lead in five of them.

That included Sunday. The Rays loaded the bases with three straight walks to start the first, then got a sacrifice fly by Jeff Keppinger, a two-run single by Joyce and a RBI single by Rodriguez for a 4-0 lead.

But Moore gave it all back in the third, allowing five runs partly due to his continued trouble with falling behind hitters. Three of the hits in the inning came on three-ball counts, including a three-run homer by Brandon Inge on a 3-and-1 fastball.

"(Inge) did exactly what he was supposed to do with a 3-1 high fastball," Moore said. "Especially after he timed up four of them."

Moore gave up three more runs in the fifth before getting pulled after 102 pitches. A's hitters were 5-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

"That wasn't fun," Moore said. "It turned into eight pretty quickly before I really realized it."

Moore believes he'll bounce back and wants to give the team the same confidence the other starters provide.

"As soon as these guys come in the locker room and they see the starting pitcher, it's like, 'All right, we're winning today,' " Moore said. "Well, as of right now, through my first six starts, it's not really been that. So we're obviously looking for something to change."

   
Comments
Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Rays on Sunday: 1:10 vs. Twins

Sunday vs. Twins1:10, Tropicana FieldTV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 760-AM (Spanish)Tickets: $20-$300; available at Tropicana Field box office, raysbaseball.com, surcharge of up to $5 within five hours of game.Promotion: Mascot socks for kids 14 a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

Marc Topkinís takeaways from Raysí 10-1 Saturday win over Twins

* Is it time to take the leap and believe this is the real Blake Snell? He talked a good game this spring and pitched well in his debut, but that rough second outing raised old doubts. But a good outing in Chicago and two dominant ones on the homesta...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

Rays Tales: How low can this team go compared to those Devil Rays days?

When the Rays, in the opening weekend of their 20th anniversary celebration season, brought back and honored the inaugural 1998 Devil Rays squad, it got us thinking unexpected thoughts, such as which was a better team:The first one, or the current on...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

Rays Journal: Team effort pays off in 10-1 win over Twins

ST. PETERSBURG – Let's be clear here, the Rays still have a long way to go, and a lot of ground to make up.But seeing them play like they did Saturday in beating the Twins 10-1, putting on a solid all-around show in cobbling their first three-g...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Rays will go forth with four starters

Rays will go forth with four starters

ST. PETERSBURG — Three weeks was enough for the Rays to officially ditch their three-man rotation plan.Starting Sunday, they will go forth with Yonny Chirinos as their fourth starter.Which is a five-star idea.The flaws in the three-man plan ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

For starters: Rays vs. Twins, with a familiar look

UPDATE, 4:17: CF Kevin Kiermaier was back at the Trop, and at one point on the field with a glove on his left hand and protective wrapping on his right, the day after surgery to repair a torn UCL in his right thumb. He said the surgery went "as good ...
Published: 04/21/18
Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

Rays will go forth with Chirinos as fourth starter

The Rays have made it official – or as official as things can be with them – in naming RHP Yonny Chirinos as the fourth starter in their rotation.The Rays had been using three, and two "Bullpen Day" slots when playing five straight days.B...
Published: 04/21/18
Archerís sparkling start precedes surreal finish

Archerís sparkling start precedes surreal finish

By now, we presume you've had a few hours to digest the Rays' improbable 10-inning triumph Friday night.So instead of rehashing the whole bizarre body of work, how 'bout a closer look at the workmanship. Specifically, Chris Archer's.Partially lost in...
Published: 04/21/18
Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

Now Batting in Double A: Biggio, Bichette and Guerrero

HARTFORD, Conn. — Craig Breslow is 37 years old, with a dozen years of experience as a left-handed reliever in the major leagues. He is pitching now for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, just getting to know his teammates. In their openin...
Published: 04/21/18
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Published: 04/20/18