CLEVELAND (AP) — Joe Maddon knew the Tampa Bay Rays needed a well-pitched game. Matt Moore seemed to be the right man for the job
But the rookie left-hander didn’t get through the fifth inning in a 7-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Saturday.
Moore, who lost for the first time since May 28, gave up five runs and five hits — all doubles — and five walks in 4 2-3 innings as Tampa Bay lost for the ninth time in 13 games.
“I didn’t do a very good job of helping myself out by walking guys and keeping them off base,” Moore said. “It was a very poor effort.”
Added Maddon: “Matty did not have one of his better days. It was a youthful thing. I still firmly believe in how good he’s going to be, but it was a tough night for him.”
Moore (5-6) saw his four-game winning streak over a stretch of seven starts come to an end. He allowed three runs in the second and two in the third to put the Rays’ offense in an early hole. The five walks tied a season high.
“I’m either going to be putting pressure on them or they’re going to be putting pressure on me,” said Moore, who threw 96 pitches. “I couldn’t find an adjustment to make it the opposite so they put the pressure on me.”
Cleveland manager Manny Acta said the Indians’ patience at the plate seemed to affect the 23-year-old Moore.
“He’s young and has great stuff, but still a little inconsistent,” Acta said. “We ran his pitch count up early and had a lot of good at bats. You need to stay focused against a guy like him.”
Tampa Bay’s offense, which broke out of its doldrums in Friday night’s 10-3 win, struggled against Ubaldo Jimenez (8-7). Luke Scott, who broke an 0-for-41 slump Friday, hit a two-run homer for the second straight game in the fourth, but that’s all the Rays could muster against Jimenez. B.J. Upton added a leadoff shot in the ninth off Esmil Rogers.
“We got behind and their guy was pitching pretty well, so it was kind of tough,” Maddon said.
Tampa Bay, now 5-14 against the AL Central, has scored three runs or less eight times in 13 games. Jimenez gave up two runs and five hits with eight strikeouts in six innings.
Everything seemed to go against the Rays, even when they appeared to record an inning-ending out. The Indians got a reprieve in the seventh when plate umpire Scott Berry overruled his partner at first base Jerry Meals. With two outs and none on, Jose Lopez grounded to Tampa Bay shortstop Sean Rodriguez, whose low throw was scooped up by first baseman Carlos Pena and the Rays left the field.
Acta protested that Pena bobbled the ball and did not have control. Berry agreed, allowing Lopez to remain at first and ordering the Rays to go back to the field. Maddon discussed the situation with the umpires and was satisfied with their explanation.
“I knew he bobbled it,” Maddon said of Pena. “I’m all for getting the call right. It was a good call. I have no complaint.”
Scott broke his franchise-record hitless streak Friday with a two-run homer off Justin Masterson. His latest home run was to dead center with two outs and scored Ben Zobrist, who led off the fourth with a double. Scott has homered in back-to-back games for the first time since April 14-15 at Boston.
Scott reached in the second when he blooped a single to left.
“It’s great to see a blooper fall for him,” Maddon said. “Then he hit that ball well to center field. It’s a confidence issue. As he gains more confidence, you’re going to see him hit with more consistency.”
Upton’s home run was his first on the road since Sept. 22 of last season at Yankee Stadium.
Michael Brantley hit a leadoff double in the second and after Duncan reached on a one-out walk, Lou Marson hit a bloop to left that fell in front of a diving Desmond Jennings for an RBI double. Duncan scored on a groundout and Aaron Cunningham doubled home Marson. The sharply hit ground ball deflected off Rodriguez’s glove and rolled into center field as Cunningham hustled into second.
Doubles by Lopez and Carlos Santana mixed with two more walks helped make it 5-0 in the third. Brantley had an RBI groundout and Santana a run-scoring double.
NOTES: Maddon said he has no idea when 3B Evan Longoria will return. The three-time All-Star has been out since May 1 with a partially torn left hamstring. Jeff Keppinger started at third. He had been out since Wednesday with a bruised left triceps after being he was hit by a pitch. … Maddon said OF Hideki Matsui’s tight left hamstring has improved, but he’s still likely to be limited to being the DH. … James Shields will start Sunday’s final game before the All-Star break against Zach McAllister.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.