Moore Sharp Again, Helps Rays Rout Marlins 11-0
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays were on the right side of the second one-hitter at Tropicana Field in three days.
Rookie Matt Moore and two relievers combined to shut out the struggling Miami Marlins 11-0 on Friday night, ending a three-game losing streak that included a one-hit loss to R.A. Dickey and the New York Mets.
It was a nice step forward for Moore, who had an impressive major league debut late last season but has struggled with command of his pitches early this year.
The 22-year-old left-hander consistently threw his fastball, curveball and changeup for strikes in his 13th big league start.
“It felt good. It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve had all three pitches throughout the night,” Moore said. “It’s a lot more fun to pitch like that. We obviously had a bunch of offense tonight, so that makes it that much easier, too.”
Ben Zobrist homered and Desmond Jennings drove in four runs in support of Moore (4-5), who gave up a first-inning single and walked three in seven innings. He struck out eight before being replaced by right-hander Burke Badenhop after throwing 107 pitches.
Badenhop worked the eighth and Brandon Gomes got the final three outs.
Dickey beat Tampa Bay 9-1 on Wednesday night, limiting the Rays to an infield single in the first.
The Marlins, swept by the Rays last weekend in Miami and coming off a 1-8 homestand, played without third baseman Hanley Ramirez, who was hit in the nose by a ball while taking batting practice in an indoor cage. His replacement, Donovan Solano, had the only hit off Moore, a clean single to left-center with one out in the first.
Tampa Bay has won eight straight against its intrastate rivals dating to May 2011, its longest streak ever against an NL opponent. Moore beat the Marlins and Carlos Zambrano (4-5) for the second time in six days.
Jennings, Jose Lobaton and B.J. Upton each drove in a run during the second inning against Zambrano, who issued six walks and allowed four runs and three hits in two-plus innings. Will Rhymes had a pair of RBI singles for the Rays, who outscored the Marlins 22-7 during last week’s three-game sweep.
“We’re walking too many guys. … Walking 10 people, that’s the kind of game you’re going to have,” Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said. “We don’t hit the way we think we can hit. And not pitching, not hitting equal … bad loss. Last week we had the best ballclub in baseball. This week we’ve got the worst club in baseball.”
Zambrano walked three and allowed seven runs in 2 1-3 innings against the Rays last Saturday in Miami, eventually departing due to lower back stiffness. He threw 46 pitches in the second Friday night and exited after giving up a leadoff single to Zobrist and walking Carlos Pena to begin the third. The right-hander threw 78 pitches in his shortest outing of the season.
Rhymes drove in the final run charged to Zambrano with a two-out single off Chad Gaudin in the third. Zobrist hit a solo homer in the fifth before Rhymes added another RBI single to make it 6-0. Jennings tacked on a three-run double in the seventh.
Zambrano has allowed 11 runs over 4 1-3 innings in two starts against Tampa Bay. He said he is fine physically, but struggling with his mechanics.
“I was wild,” Zambrano said. “This one is on me. I still believe in this ballclub. I still believe in myself.”
The Rays were coming off a rough series against the Mets, when they were outscored 29-9 while allowing at least nine runs in each of the three games. The sputtering Marlins offense couldn’t extend that pattern against Moore, who has won three straight decisions following a four-game losing streak.
Moore fanned Austin Kearns, Gaby Sanchez and John Buck after Justin Ruggiano drew a leadoff walk in the second. Miami wasted another leadoff walk when Omar Infante popped out and Ruggiano grounded into an inning-ending double play in the fourth.
Solano was the only runner to get beyond first base for Miami. He moved to second when Moore walked Giancarlo Stanton, then scooted to third when Logan Morrison grounded into a force play.
Moore struck out Infante to escape the first-inning jam.
“A week ago when I faced them, I think I threw three or four curveballs the entire game, so today was just a little bit of a different look for them,” Moore said. “I feel like I had a good feel for it, especially in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings when I was throwing it for strike one. … It was definitely nice to have another pitch to have them look out for.”
NOTES: Guillen said Ramirez could return to the lineup as soon as Saturday. “He’s fine. He’s got something slight, a little bit broke,” Guillen said. “The doctor says he can play. … I’ve got to wait (until Saturday to decide if he will play).” … Zobrist had his fifth consecutive multihit game, matching a career best. … Rays DH Hideki Matsui has been taking grounders at first. Manager Joe Maddon said it’s being done to give him an additional in-game option. … The Marlins recalled OF Scott Cousins from Triple-A New Orleans. … Tampa Bay recalled Gomes from Triple-A Durham.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.