ST. PETERSBURG — Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged the Mets made the Rays look bad during a recent three-game sweep, but he pointed out "24 hours makes a huge difference."
It certainly did Friday night, as Tampa Bay looked like world-beaters in an 11-0 whipping of the Marlins in front of 18,369 at Tropicana Field. The Rays (36-28) held Miami to just one hit for their largest margin of victory of the season.
"That's exactly the opposite game we've played the last three nights," Maddon said. "It was refreshing. This is more like what we normally do look like."
Left-hander Matt Moore was a big reason for the resurgence, delivering his best performance of the season in tossing seven one-hit innings. In picking up his third straight win, Moore was more reminiscent of the rookie who made a splash in September.
"It feels like it's been a while since I've had all three pitches throughout the night," Moore said. "It's a lot more fun to pitch like that."
Moore said the Rays offense made it easier, with the 11 runs the team's second-highest total of the season to the 13 they racked up in his last start, Saturday in Miami. They had scored just nine in three losses to the Mets.
Infielder Ben Zobrist was a catalyst with two hits (including a homer), tying his career high with five consecutive multihit games. "I am just a lot more comfortable at the plate," Zobrist said. "And I feel like my hands are working."
First baseman Carlos Peña tied a career high with four walks, leftfielder Desmond Jennings matched a career high with four RBIs, and third baseman Will Rhymes added two RBI singles. The Rays took advantage of six walks by right-hander Carlos Zambrano, who was pulled in the third inning, and had eight two-out RBIs.
"Everyone had good, quality at-bats up and down the lineup," Zobrist said.
That was more than enough for Moore (4-5), who settled in after throwing 45 pitches in the first two innings to go seven, striking out eight.
"Matty was unreal," Jennings said.
A main difference for Moore was his use and command of his curve, something he had only showed the Marlins three or four times last Saturday.
"There have been nights where I had good command of it, but I don't think I've used it quite like I threw it (Friday)," Moore said.
The Marlins' only hit was a one-out single in the first inning by Donovan Solano; it was the first time since Matt Garza's no-hitter July 26, 2010, that Tampa Bay held a team to one hit or fewer.
Maddon joked that the Rays would appeal the scoring decision on Solano's hit, much like the Mets unsuccessfully tried with R.A. Dickey's one-hitter Wednesday against Tampa Bay.