Matt Moore had been developing a reputation as a slow starter, given how his April and May had been over the previous couple of seasons. This season, however, he started off strongly, firing six shutout innings as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Cleveland Indians 4-0.
The game began as a pitcher’s duel, with Moore and Cleveland starter Zack McAllister trading zeros for the first three innings. Having trailed in all three games against the Orioles, the Rays scored first for the first time all season as they finally got to McAllister in the fourth, as Sam Fuld led off the inning with a single, and scored on Ben Zobrist‘s double. After a single moved Zobrist to third, he came around to score on an RBI groundout by Yunel Escobar, putting the Rays ahead 2-0.
Tampa struck again in the fifth. After two quick outs, Desmond Jennings fought back from a 0-2 to get a full count, and reached on an error by Mike Aviles. Fuld singled, putting runners at the corners for Zobrist, who hit his second double in as many innings, driving both runners in to put the Rays ahead 4-0.
Moore, meanwhile, was cruising. Despite a couple of rough patches with his control, he managed to right himself, shutting down the Indians lineup. Overall, Moore allowed only two hits, both by Michael Bourn, and two walks while striking out eight batters in his six innings of work. Moore, retired the last eight batters he faced, and three relievers each pitched perfect innings to preserve the victory. Overall, Rays pitching struck out 12 Indians batters. Fuld, Zobrist and Jose Lobaton each had two hits in the victory.
Another encouraging sign for the Rays may have been the outing by Jake McGee. McGee had been excellent in 2012, but had gotten shelled in his first outing of 2013, making it fair to wonder how he would bounce back. In his first outing since that performance, he fired a perfect inning, and had first pitch strikes to all three batters faced as he got three groundouts. Hopefully, this outing can be the start of a run of success such as McGee had last season.