The conditions may not have been the best for the Tampa Bay Rays – Texas Rangers game this afternoon, and it showed. Yet, after the previous two games, the results were good enough for the Rays in their 2-0 victory.
After waiting out a rain delay of approximately an hour and a half, the Rays and Rangers found themselves paying on a cold and damp afternoon in a game where scoring seemed as though it would be at a premium from the outset. Tampa had the first real scoring threat in the second, having runners on second and third with one out, but they were unable to push a run across as Ryan Roberts grounded to the mound, and Jose Lobaton lined out to end the inning.
The Rays broke through in the next inning. Rangers starter Derek Holland walked the bases loaded with one out, as the Rays once again appeared poised to take the lead. Ben Zobrist grounded to third, forcing the runner at second, and plated Kelly Johnson for the 1-0 lead. Holland then struck out Shelley Duncan to escape further damage. Tampa scored again in the top of the fifth, as Desmond Jennings led off the inning with a double, and advanced to third on a groundout. Evan Longoria hit a sacrifice fly, plating Jennings to give the Rays a 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Matt Moore was struggling with his command, but he did not allow a hit until one out in the bottom of the fifth, when Craig Gentry singled to right. Moore lasted into the sixth, giving up only the one hit, but walked six and threw two wild pitches in his 5.1 innings of work, while recording five strikeouts. Moore threw 106 pitches, and only had first pitch strikes to eight of the 22 batters he faced, as he had control problems all game. The bullpen, which has struggled through the early part of the season, pitched the final 3.2 innings to preserve the shutout, with Fernando Rodney recording his first save of the season.
The outing for Rodney was particularly encouraging. He had allowed five baserunners in his previous 1.2 innings to start the year, but allowed only one hit and struck out one as he earned the save. Jake McGee continued to rebound from his rough outing on Opening Day, making his third consecutive appearance without allowing a run.
Zobrist was 2-4 with an RBI in the victory.