Game 54: Offensive Outburst Vaults Rays into 1st

By Robbie Knopf

It had to be in the back of your head. Not again. The Rays were getting perfect-gamed by Jake Arrieta through 3 innings. Matt Moore was struggling. Everything was falling apart. But suddenly things changed. The offense came alive in a huge way and Moore came away with his second victory of the season.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead against Moore in the second inning on a Matt Wieters leadoff home run. But after going down in order the first 3 innings very Arrieta, the Rays broke through in the 4th. The Rays were extremely opportunistic. Carlos Pena walked to begin the inning before B.J. Upton singled, and following a wild pitch to advance the runners Matt Joyce hit a sac fly that also scored Upton when Adam Jones‘ throw sailed over the head of third baseman Steve Tollefson and clanked off the dugout. By the end of the inning, the Rays had scored 2 runs on 1 hit while leaving no one on base.

It was very disappointing when Moore gave up the lead in the 5th, allowing a 2-out RBI single to Mark Reynolds. But the Rays picked him up in the bottom half of the inning. With 2 outs and the bases loaded on Arrieta walks, Upton came through with a 2-run double. After starting with 9 straight outs, Arrieta lasted just 4.2 innings allowing 4 runs on just 2 hits, striking out 3 while walking 4.

Moore finished his outing in the the 6th with a double play followed by a strikeout before the Rays put the game away in the bottom of the inning, tallying 4 runs with the help of two Orioles errors to take an 8-2 lead. Wade Davis allowed a Mark Reynolds solo blast in the 8th inning and a Matt Wieters RBI single off Fernando Rodney led to another run charged to Davis, but the Rays managed to win the game 8-4. Moore (2-5) earned the win in the game, allowing 2 runs, 1 earned, on 7 hits, striking out 4 while walking 3. He was by no means dominant, but he dug hard out of the stretch to strand 8 runners and even if his final line was not as pretty as we would like, at least the win gives him confidence moving forward. Arrieta (2-7) took the loss. With the win, the Rays took 2 of 3 from the Orioles and improve to 31-23 on the season, the best mark in the AL East. Pretty impressive considering all the injuries. The Rays are still waiting for Moore to find a groove, but at least they got him a win. Hopefully this game is the start of something for the offense as well. The Rays are off Monday before taking on the Yankees in a 3-game set at Yankee Stadium beginning Tuesday.