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Tampa Bay Rays' Matt Moore battles past New York Yankees to win fourth straight start

ST. PETERSBURG — Matt Moore's night got off to a rough, even unfortunate, start.

The Rays rookie left-hander allowed two runs on four hits in the first inning to the first-place Yankees, with a defensive miscue costing him.

But instead of being frustrated, Moore just became more focused, knowing he couldn't afford to give New York any more.

"He does all the right things when adversity strikes," manager Joe Maddon said. "He did not break. He didn't even bend."

Rather, Moore bounced back, delivering a strong seven-inning outing in lifting the Rays to a 4-3 victory over the Yankees at Tropicana Field. He has now won four consecutive decisions.

Moore didn't have his best stuff, saying his changeup wasn't a huge factor, but he was able to locate his fastball, mix in his curveball and battle out of jams.

"When he needed to get the big out, he did," Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said.

Moore tipped his cap to pitching coach Jim Hickey, who made four mound visits. After three of them, Moore promptly got a double play.

Maddon quipped that Hickey was whispering "sweet nothings" into Moore's ear. But Moore said each trip was well-timed, with Hickey giving him information or encouragement to "put that aroma in the air."

"I think after the third one, I told him, I said, 'If I get another guy on, just come out and talk to me for a little while,' " Moore said, smiling. "That worked out awesome. I felt like it was three pitches and six outs after each one of those. Hats off to Hick."

Hickey's first trip came during a two-run first inning; Nick Swisher grounded into a double play to thwart the threat. Moore also got inning-ending double plays in the third and sixth. He's now 4-0 with a 3.29 ERA since the start of June.

"I was pretty pumped up, it was a good win for us," Moore said. "The Yankees coming in here at the top of the division, we've been kind of hitting a little skid for a while. Hopefully, this is a sign for a lot of things to come."

Tampa Bay Rays' Matt Moore battles past New York Yankees to win fourth straight start 07/03/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 1:16am]

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