Game 131: Villanueva Outduels Moore as Rays Offense Silent

By Robbie Knopf

Rays, please stop getting shut out. It gives every Rays fan emotional pain.

Matt Moore got into trouble early for the Rays. With 2 outs and nobody on in the first inning, 2 walks sandwiched around a single gave the Blue Jays the bases loaded before Kelly Johnson laced a 2-run single to make it 2-0 Blue Jays. The Rays looked to come back, though, in the top of the second inning. Evan Longoria and Matthew Joyce singled to begin the inning against Carlos Villanueva. Then Jeff Keppinger did something bizarre, laying down a sac bunt. It was a good bunt, advancing the runners to 2nd and 3rd with 1 out, and when he got back to the dugout, Kepp got high-fives. But the Rays had this expression on their faces after the bunt and it was pretty obvious what they were thinking: “Jeff Keppinger is leading this team in hitting. Why did he just bunt?” The bunt didn’t pay off as Luke Scott popped out and Jose Lobaton struck out to end the inning.

The Rays stranded 2 more runners in the 5th inning and never had another serious threat as the Blue Jays beat them 2-0. Villanueva (7-4) pitched well for Toronto, allowing no runs on 5 hits in 6 innings, striking out 7 while walking 1. Moore (10-8) held the Blue Jays down after the tough 1st, going 6 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits, striking out 7 while walking 3, but his outing went to waste as Villanueva and 3 Blue Jays relievers kept the Rays off the board. The Rays lost for the 4th time in their last 5 games, putting them 1.5 games out in the AL Wild Card, and they desperately have to get back on track. Jeremy Hellickson heads to the mound against Brandon Morrow on Friday night as the Rays look to turn themselves around.