Matt Moore pitched a two-hitter for his first career shutout and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0 on Monday night to move within a half-game of first place in the AL East.
Ben Zobrist had three hits and James Loney drove in two runs for the Rays, who earned their sixth consecutive victory and won for the 18th time in 20 games.
In his first start since pitching a scoreless fifth inning in the All-Star game, Moore (14-3) gave up Mike Napoli’s single in the second and David Ortiz’s base-hit in the seventh. Ortiz took second on a wild pitch — the only baserunner to get past first.
Moore walked one batter, struck out four and needed just 109 pitches to win his sixth consecutive start. The Rays have lost just twice since June 28, improving from fourth place and seven games out to within one win of the division lead.
Brandon Workman (0-1) made his second career start, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out four in six innings. Workman, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning in his other start, allowed three straight singles to start the game before Loney made it 1-0 on a sacrifice fly.
Loney, who rejoined the team from the paternity list on Sunday, also had a run-scoring single in the fifth. Loney was the only established major-leaguer acquired by Boston in last-season’s salary-dumping trade that sent Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Desmond Jennings drove in the third run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth off Jose De La Torre.
Yunel Escobar, who hadn’t played since the All-Star break because of a right hamstring strain, returned to the lineup for Tampa Bay and went 1-for-2 with two walks and a run. He played errorless defense at shortstop for the 53rd consecutive game, a club record.
Notes: The Boston Red Sox said a second opinion on Clay Buchholz’s right shoulder showed no significant structural damage. … In his last six starts, all wins, Moore has a 1.50 ERA. … Wil Myers sat out the game with a sore left wrist. … The Red Sox are 9-4 against the Rays this season. … In Workman’s previous start, he had his no-hit bid broken up by Coco Crisp’s infield hit to start the seventh inning. … All 10 hits in the game were singles.