Matt Moore improved his record to 8-0, working seven innings of five hit one run ball in the Rays 3-1 win over the Orioles. Moore only struck out three, but he improved his ERA to 2.29. The Rays completed their sweep of the O’s while the O’s extended their losing streak to five games with the Yankees coming to Camden for their next series.
Both Moore and Chris Tillman were sharp to begin the game. The first hit off the two pitchers didn’t occur until the top of the third. Yunel Escobar drew a two out walk to become the first base runner of the game. Desmond Jennings followed stroking a double down the left field line to score Escobar and give the Rays a 1-0 lead.
The Orioles had an opportunity to score in the third when Danny Valencia got his first major league at bat of the 2013 season, driving a double into the right centerfield gap to give himself a 1.000 batting average. Yamiaco Navarro advanced him to third with a bunt. Chris Snyder could not bring him home, grounding a ball to short. Nick Markakis ended the inning with a ground out to second.
The Orioles did take advantage of an outfield miscue in the fourth to score their only run. Manny Machado led the inning off with a drive to the gap in right center. Both Matt Joyce and Desmond Jennings converged on the ball. They both stopped to avoid a collision and the ball split between them, Machado advancing to third with a triple. Adam Jones drove him in with a single over the glove of the shortstop to tie the game.
After Chris Davis struck out, Adam Jones stole back to back bases to find himself standing on third with one out. Steve Pearce hit a fly ball to shallow left field, not deep enough to score Jones. J.J. Hardy flew out to center to leave Jones stranded at third, the second runner in two innings stranded on third with less than two out.
The Rays came right back when ex-O Luke Scott drove a 1-1 pitch to lead off the fifth into the right centerfield bleachers to give the Rays a 2-1 lead. Matt Joyce blasted a pitch down the right field line that was originally ruled fair with Joyce legging it out for a double. Buck Showalter came out to argue that the ball was foul. Joe Madden came out to argue the hit was not only fair, but it should have been ruled a homerun.
The umpires conferred for five minutes. Then the umpires broke out in groups of two, the first group talking to Buck and the second group talking to Joe. After a lengthy consultation with the two the crowd began booing. The umpires broke apart again and agreed to go into the booth to look at the hit, something they should have done originally. When they came out the hit was ruled a homerun, something Buck wasn’t even thinking about when he first came out to argue it was foul.
Tillman was through after six and T.J. McFarland came out and gave the Orioles two innings plus one out of relief to save their bullpen. He was relieved by Pedro Strop in the ninth after putting two runners on with one out. Strop walked a batter with two outs to load the bases but got Desmond Jennings to ground to short to end the threat.
Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney kept the Oriole bats quiet for the last two innings, each pitcher retiring the O’s in order. Chris Davis did lead off the ninth with a deep drive to center where Desmond Jennings caught the ball with his glove above the wall.
Game Notes: Matt Moore made a nice athletic leap in the first inning to snag a ground ball from Nick Markakis to lead off the first inning. He also allowed a pop up bunt from Manny Machado to hit the ground when he saw Manny was not running. He threw to second to get the lead runner, but the relay to first was just shy of beating Manny to the bag…James Loney entered the game hitting .359. He is usually hitting below .250. It is still early in the season, but myworld wonders what he is eating breakfast to hit the way he has…The Orioles scored a run without benefit of a homerun. It is only the second time this season this has happened in Moore’s nine starts. All the other runs Moore has given up has been the result of seven homeruns.