Game 67: Matt Moore Takes a Royal Beating as Rays Fall to Kansas City

By Dereck Violante

Matt Moore implodes in the fifth innings as the Rays fall to Kansas City 7-2 for back to back losses against Kansas City.

Matt Moore opened the game up and immediately struggled with his command, hitting Alex Gordon with a pitch and then walked Eric Hosmer on four straight pitches.  After a quick fly out to Salvador Perez, Moore then gave up an RBI single to Billy Butler to open the scoring and giving the Royals a 1-0 lead.  Moore managed to limit the damage on a strange 1-4-2 double play as Hosmer was caught trying to take home.

In the bottom of the frame Tampa Bay struck back on a lead-off home run by the red hot Matt Joyce, his 13th of the season.  After a Ben Zobrist walk and a quick out by Kelly Johnson, Evan Longoria came to the plate looking to do some damage.  Longoria crushed a standup double, scoring Zobrist, that bounced off the top of the fence just 2-3 feet from a home run and giving the Rays a 2-1 lead.

Moore seemed to cruise through the Kansas City lineup until he struggled in the 5th by giving up a lead-off single to Jeff Francoeur.  Former Ray, yet now a Ray killer, Elliot Johnson who is batting .528 with 2 homeruns & 5 RBI’s against his former club, crushed a triple down the left field line, scoring Francoeur and tying the game at 2 apiece.  Alcides Escobar then ripped a low liner to Ben Zobrist but he was unable to make a clean play allowing Johnson to score, giving the Royals the lead.  After managing to get Alex Gordon to fly out to right, Eric Hosmer came up next and ripped a double to right putting men at 2nd & 3rd.  Salvador Perez then laced an RBI single to left, further extending the Royals lead.  A Billy Butler sac fly, scoring Hosmer, gave the Royals a commanding 5-2 lead at that point.  Moore finally managed to end the inning after getting the ageless wonder, Miguel Tejada, to strikeout.

After putting the first two runners on in the top of the 6th, Joe Maddon finally lifted Moore for Jamie Wright.  Moore again struggled with his command going just 5.1 innings, giving up 5 earned runs while striking out 4 and walking 4 but throwing only 59 of his 100 pitches for strikes.  Jamie Wright did a magnificent job in relief, holding KC to no runs over 1.2 innings while striking out 1.

Tampa Bay did manage to threaten in the bottom of the 7th and bottom of the 9th but were unable to capitalize after the Kansas City bullpen shut down the Rays bats.

Kansas City tacked on another 2 runs in the top of the 9th off struggling Rays closer Fernando Rodney.

Up next for the Rays is game 3 of the 4 game series against Kansas City at the Trop at 4:10pm with Jeremy Guthrie (7-3, 3.60 ERA) taking on Alex Cobb (6-2, 2.95 ERA)