ST. PETERSBURG — David Ortiz made more history Saturday night. Matt Moore raised more questions about his future.
Ortiz, the Red Sox's ageless DH, hit a pair of home runs to become the 27th major-leaguer to reach the 500 milestone. Moore, the Rays' one-time All-Star, gave up those two and two more over a shaky five-inning outing to further blemish his return from Tommy John surgery in a 10-4 loss.
"You never want to be on that side of history," Moore said. "Probably going to see that swing quite a bit over the next however long. Didn't execute. Same thing as his first at-bat."
Ortiz, 39, struck first in the first inning, driving a 1-and-2 fastball from Moore over the rightfield wall for a three-run shot. After popping out in the third, he delivered the historic home run on a 2-and-2 curveball leading off the fifth.
"This is something you don't see every day. It's going to be very special. I'm going to take a lot of pride in that," Ortiz said.
"Tonight, I got two pitches that I don't see too much, especially from the Rays. When they miss, they miss off the plate. My first home run, I don't know if Moore was trying to go off the plate or outside, but it was straight. As a hitter, we make our living off of pitcher's mistake."
Ortiz took his usual lengthy jaunt around the bases after homer 500 cleared the right-centerfield fence — 29.38 seconds — then brought his fingers to his lips and pointed to the sky as he crossed the plate. His teammates came out of the dugout and bullpen to greet him with hugs. The Rays — who have now seen him homer 33 times at the Trop and 48 against them overall — acknowledged the accomplishment on the video board. He joined Albert Pujols as the only players to hit Nos. 499 and 500 in the same game.
Moore was standing on the back of the mound waiting to resume the game but said he was not "by any means" upset about the length of the celebration. Ortiz was originally scheduled to be off Saturday but told interim manager Torey Lovullo he felt good, and he had good numbers against Moore, 8-for-19 going in.
Rays manager Kevin Cash, who played with Ortiz in Boston in 2007-08 and 2010, had hoped to not have such a closeup view but appreciated the significance of the milestone.
"Pretty special," Cash said. "Obviously 500 home runs, that puts you in an elite class. But just the person David has been in that organization, the way he treats everybody. It's a special moment for him."
Moore had made what seemed a solid return to the rotation on Sept. 5 in New York after a one-month exile to Triple A, but all the good from that game seemed gone Saturday. After what Moore acknowledged was an "uncharacteristically pretty sharp" warmup, he allowed nine hits (including the four homers) and a walk in lasting five innings, allowing eight runs (six earned) while throwing 95 pitches.
"I would say I was happy with the stuff I had coming out tonight, but I wasn't happy with the execution," Moore said.
As much as the Rays are still playing to make the playoffs this season — though the loss dropped them to 69-72 and kept them closer to last place in the American League East (two games) than a wild-card spot (five, or more) — they have to get a better read on what is realistic to expect next year from Moore.
Part of that will be determined by what — and presumably how — he does the rest of this season, and Cash acknowledged there is a tradeoff in giving him the opportunity to log innings, such as allowing him to work the fourth and fifth. He said Moore would definitely make his next start, which would fall Thursday against the Orioles.
"Matt is competing this year, but we also have to do our due diligence in getting him ready for next year," Cash said. "And when I say that, don't get that confused with anything other than just that."
Contact Marc Topkin at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Rays