After being snubbed for the All-Star Game, Matt Moore may have been hoping that a strong performance today would be able to push him into the conversation as a replacement pitcher. He certainly provided the Rays with a solid outing this afternoon.
Moore and Twins starter Mike Pelfrey were engaged in a pitcher’s duel over the first five innings, with the only run coming courtesy of a Wil Myers single in the third inning to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. The Twins finally got to Moore in the top of the sixth, when Brian Dozier doubled for Minnesota’s first hit with two outs, and was driven in on a base hit by Jamey Carroll to knot the game at 1-1.
That lead was short lived. In the span of three pitches, Luke Scott and Evan Longoria homered in the bottom of the frame to put the Rays back on top. Tampa expanded the lead in the seventh, when pinch hitter Ben Zobrist tripled, and with two outs, Myers came through again, hitting a single to extend the lead to 4-1.
Minnesota came back int eh top of the eighth. After recording the first out, Moore walked Clete Thomas before Pedro Florimon singled to put runners on first and second, to end Moore’s day. Alex Torres came in, and recorded an out before walking pinch hitter Ryan Doumit to load the bases. Joel Peralta gave up a two run single to Joe Mauer, as the Twins cut the lead to 4-3.
Overall, Moore gave up three runs on three hits and two walks in 7.1 innings. However, that stat line truly does not do justice to how well he was pitching this afternoon. Moore also struck out ten batters, as the Twins were unable to make solid contact for most of the game.