Matt Moore recorded his 11th win of the season with a strong outing and the Rays’ bats came alive as the Rays came away with a 12-0 win against the Astros on Monday night.
Moore has struggled with his command this season, including 6 walks even as he struck out 11 in his last start, but he had no problem commanding attention from the Astros in this contest just about form the start. After working around a walk in a scoreless 1st, Moore struck out the side working around another walk in the 2nd before striking out 2 more as he stranded a hit in the 3rd. Moore finally got into a real jam in the 4th as a Jason Castro walk and a Chris Carter single put runners at 1st and 3rd with nobody out, but Moore quickly responded, striking out J.D. Martinez on three pitches before forcing Matt Dominguez to ground into a double play. It was all smooth sailing for Moore after that one rough patch as the Martinez strikeout started a run of 11 straight batters retired to end his outing, 4 via the strikeout and 5 more on the ground.
Overall, Moore’s performance was absolutely dazzling Monday night, as threw nine K’s in seven innings against, giving up only two hits and 3 walks. Moore entered the starts ranking last in the AL with 4.98 walks per nine innings prior to the game, but he Moore fared slightly better against Houston, giving up only three walks in 7 innings including just 1 in his final 5 frames. The lefty matched his total for wins last season, 11, in just his 17th start, as he has been great all season aside from a disastrous three-start stretch that he has been able to overcome. Moore showed not only great stuff on Monday but improved control of his pitchers, and the result was dominance. And while Moore was starring on the mound, the Rays offense was even batter.
The Rays’ offense got off to a hot start in the third inning against the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel. Wil Myers scored the Rays’ first run of the night off of James Loney’s sacrifice fly but that was only the start as Ryan Roberts slammed a 2-run homer to put the Rays ahead 3-0. The Rays struck again in the 5th, tallying 2 more runs on RBI singles by Jose Lobaton and Sam Fuld. And after reliever Paul Clemens got out of the 5th and tossed a 1-2-3 inning in the 6th, the Rays got to him plenty in the 7th. Three straight RBI singles ended Clemens’ night before Myers made it four straight with his first hit of the night to make it 9-0 Rays. Roberts and Sean Rodriguez capped the scoring the following inning, with Roberts delivering his second homer and Rodriguez slamming a 2-run double. It was a banner night for the Rays offense as they scoring 12 runs on 17 hits, including 9 runs with 2 outs. The bottom three spots in the order, Roberts, Lobaton, and Fuld, all went 3 for 5 with a combined 6 RBI and 6 runs scored to ignite the offense and Sean Rodriguez went 4 for 6 with 2 doubles and 3 RBI. Wil Myers, who entered the game with just one walk in 55 plate appearances, walked twice replacing Evan Longoria in the three-hole. And Houston native James Loney also extended his hitting streak to 12 games on Monday night, going 1-for-3 with an RBI. Every Rays starter reached base in what turned out to be a dream night for the Rays all the way around.
After being on the DL for over a month, David Price will return to the mound tomorrow night against Erik Bedard and the Astros at Minute Maid Park. It will be tough to follow up this game, but with Price taking the ball, the Rays will give it their best shot.