We're still waiting to see Moore at this best. But now he finally has his first win of the season, and hopefully it's just the start. (Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)

Game 24: Matt Moore Strikes Out Seven as Rays Win 3-1

The Rays beat the Mariners on Tuesday night with a solid performance from Matt Moore, and strong bullpen support. In their first game of many without Evan Longoria in the lineup, the Rays only managed to get three hits, yet scored three runs. Moore went five innings throwing 101 pitches and picked up his second career regular season win and his first of the season.

Tampa got two quick runs in the bottom of the first inning against Mariners starter Hector Noesi. Ben Zobrist walked with one out, and Matt Joyce tripled off the wall in center just over the glove of Michael Saunders. After a Carlos Pena walk, Luke Scott hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Joyce and giving the Rays a quick 2-0 lead. Moore got a double play in the top of the 2nd, and recorded his third strikeout of the game.

In the top of the 3rd, Michael Saunders hit a solo home run on the first pitch, a fastball that Moore missed and left inside. Matt Joyce answered Saunders’ blast with a resounding one of his own in the bottom of the 3rd, making it a 3-1 ball game. No more runs would be scored in the game, as both teams’ pitching was on lockdown. Joyce’s home run was the last hit the Rays would get in the game.

Moore got into some trouble in the 4th inning; however, he got back to back swinging strikeouts to end the inning, stranding runners on 1st and 2nd. Moore mirrored his 4th inning in the following frame. He got back to back swinging strikeouts to start the inning, then gave up back to back singles before getting Justin Smoak to fly out to center. It was Moore’s last inning, as he ended up spreading seven hits and one walk over five innings, while striking out seven. His command was off the entire day as he experienced tons of difficulty hitting his spots and missed wildly several times, but he fought to hold the Mariners to just one run.

The Rays reached base twice in the 6th inning with two walks, but could not get score any insurance runs. Badenhop pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 7th, and Joel Peralta relieved him in the 8th. Peralta gave up a two out double to Jesus Montero, his fourth hit of the game, but the Mariners could not drive him home. On a day that Kyle Farnsworth was put on the 60 day DL to allow infielder Will Rhymes to replace Evan Longoria on the 25-man roster, Joe Maddon should count his blessings- Fernando Rodney has been lights out all season. Rodney stuck out the side in the 9th, recording his 8th save in as many chances.

Although the Rays’ offense was silenced from the third inning on, they were able to win this game by the bat of Matt Joyce and the bullpen. Joyce went 2-4 with two RBI and two runs scored. Desmond Jennings had the teams only other hit. Carlos Pena did reach base twice on two walks; although his average has dipped to .282, his OBP is still a robust .419 on the season. Badenhop had a nice bounce-back performance after giving up 4 earned runs in his last inning pitched. The bullpen only allowed two hits over four innings, striking out five. Moore lowered his ERA to 4.20, but is still struggling to go deep into games. Hopefully that will soon change.

On a day filled with bad news about Longoria and Farnsworth, it was nice for the Rays to pick up a win despite a quiet offense that managed just 3 hits. They look to clinch the four game series again the Mariners tomorrow night at 7:10 as James Shields takes on Blake Beavan.

Tags: Ben Zobrist Carlos Pena Evan Longoria Fernando Rodney Jesus Montero Joe Maddon Kyle Farnsworth Matt Joyce Matt Moore Michael Saunders Seattle Mariners

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