Manager Joe Maddon invited a Merengue band to keep spirits high in the Rays’ clubhouse before the game, and his plan worked as Matt Moore kept his hot streak alive on Tuesday night. Extending his record to 7-0, Moore and the Rays beat the Boston Red Sox in a 5-3 victory.
The first inning got off to a rocky start for Moore, who hit Boston’s first batter, Jacoby Ellsbury, with a pitch. Later, David Ortiz hit a three run homer, giving the Red Sox an easy 3-0 lead. However, Moore bounced back quickly and struck out all three batters in the top of the second inning.
The Rays’ bats lit up in the fourth inning as Luke Scott’s double off of Red Sox pitcher John Lackey allowed Evan Longoria to score the Rays’ first run of the night. Thanks to RBI singles by both Jose Molina and Matt Joyce, the Rays were able to put four more runs on the board by the end of the inning, putting them in the lead 5-3.
In his sixth and final inning of the night, Moore walked Dustin Pedroia but proceeded to strike out the inning’s final two batters. However, the seventh inning proved to be a bit more troublesome for reliever Jake McGee, who walked two of the four batters he faced, before pitching coach Jim Hickey replaced him with reliever Josh Lueke.
Matt Moore made headlines early this season by becoming only the sixth pitcher in major league history to finish April with a 5-0 or better record as a 24-year-old. In Tuesday night’s game, Moore gave up 3 runs in 6 innings, with 2 walks and 8 strikeouts, giving him an ERA of 2.44. The victory also marks Moore’s 8th consecutive win, dating back to his final win last season, allowing him to tie David Price for the franchise record of 8 consecutive wins by a pitcher.
The Rays’ pitching staff racked up 12 K’s against Boston, while the Red Sox’s staff only managed to throw five strikeouts. Rays catcher Jose Molina had a spectacular night, going 3 for 3 with 2 RBIs.
After Tuesday night’s win, the Rays are now only a game and a half behind the third place Red Sox in the AL East division. The win is also the Rays’ sixth consecutive win, and Tuesday night was the first game of a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field.