Only two days after winning the series against the scorching-hot Oakland A's, the Rays came back to the east coast to take on the Orioles at the Trop. Matt Moore looked to make it back-to-back quality starts/wins, and was also seeking to improve his season, which started off much slower than expected. Tommy Hunter took the mound for the Orioles, another young pitcher looking to become a dominant name within the next few seasons, but with a weak offense like the O's have, it's hard to stay above .500 in the win/loss column.
Matt Moore was unflappable with runners on base or in scoring position, which is evident by the fact that he gave up absolutely no runs off of 6 hits in only 5.1 innings pitched. Everything was working for him tonight, especially the location/command of his blazing fastball. Moore usually throws his fastball anywhere between 35-40% of the time, but tonight he mixed his other pitches in (particularly his curveball and changeup) to constantly keep batters guessing.
On the mound for the O's, Tommy hunter couldn't contain the Rays bats. While only giving up 6 hits as well, Hunter's key mistakes were in the fourth and sixth inning. In the fourth, he left a pitch middle-outside and allowed BJ Upton to launch one to straightaway center (425 feet) to make it a 1-0 game. Then, in the sixth, Hunter threw a fastball right down the middle of the plate, which Desmond Jennings jumped on to crank a solo shot to left.
Those two solo homers are all the Rays would need. Coupled with Moore's great start, and the always-reliable bullpen the Rays have become known for this season, Upton's homer was really the only necessary run; Jennings' was just an insurance run. While Moore's start technically isn't considered a "Quality Start" (he did not pitch 6 full innings), it was still a stellar outing, and he got the win as a result.
With this win, the Rays are now 6.5 games behind the Yankees, and are only one game ahead lf the Orioles. Also as of right now, the Rays are tied with Detroit for the second Wild Card spot, but there are many more games to be played obviously, so time will tell.
Notables from tonight's game:
M. Moore(TAM): (W, 8-7) 5.1 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 6 K
BJ Upton(TAM): 1-4, Solo HR (100th career home run)
D. Jennings(TAM): 1-4, Solo HR