The Rays Tank: Matt Moore wins, again, and the offense sticks around

USA TODAY Sports

Yes, it’s still only April, but when pitching and offense both decide to show up daily, it's a beautiful thing.

Disclaimer: Erik gave a great postgame recap here, but considering my lack of preseason faith in Matt Moore, and my willingness to dismiss the offense in the second week of the season, I feel I owe it to him and the team to praise their accomplishments and provide numerous stats.

The Rays extended their winning streak to four games on Monday with a 5-1 victory over the Yankees, much due to another dominant appearance from Matt Moore.

Last April Moore had an 0-1 record over four starts and a 4.48 ERA, but this year he is disproving his "slow start" reputation with a 4-0 record and a 1.04 ERA. On Monday he threw a career high 117 pitches over eight innings, only allowing two hits, including a solo home run to Robinson Cano, while striking out nine. He became the first starting pitcher in Rays history to win his first four starts, and the first American League pitcher age 23 or younger to do so since Jered Weaver in 2006. Only two Rays pitchers have allowed two hits or less four times in one season: David Price in 2009 and Geremi Gonzalez in 2003. Thus far this year Moore has allowed two hits, three times, in only four starts. Living up to expectations? I'd say so.

In addition to the strong pitching, the offense showed up for another night. The first inning was entertaining, with a home run from Ryan Roberts, a single from Evan Longoria, a triple from Sean Rodriguez and another home run from Yunel Escobar. With their homers, Roberts and Escobar became the Rays first middle infield combo to homer in the same inning. With his single, Evan Longoria has reached base in all 19 games this season; 33 games straight going back to September 2012.

Until last night, the last time CC Sabathia had allowed four runs in the first inning was on April 6th, 2012 against the Rays, at the Trop. He has a 3-6 career record in St. Pete, and provided deep insight into his struggles against the team:

"It's a different lineup every time," Sabathia said of facing the Rays. "It's just one of those things where I haven't pitched really good against them."

Okay, then!

With last night's victory, the Rays have allowed three hits or fewer in three straight games, matching the longest streak in franchise history. If they do it again today, they'll be the first American League team to allow three hits or fewer for four straight games since the 1974 Orioles.

David Price takes the mound tonight and faces Phil Hughes, with both pitchers looking for their first win of the season, and the Rays trying to extend their winning streak to five games.

Updates:

Luke Scott will begin his rehab assignment today with Class-A Charlotte, with plans to join the team during the upcoming road trip.

Hak-Ju Lee had a second MRI on Monday to determine the course of action for the torn ligaments in his left knee, but the Rays have not yet released a decision on whether or not he will undergo season-ending surgery.

The Rays settled two trades on Monday: Stephen Vogt to Oakland and Robinson Chirinos to Texas, both for undisclosed amounts of cash rather than players to be named later.

Around the league:

Looks like Kevin Youkilis won't be in the lineup for the Yankees this series, as Joe Girardi said he will be out a "couple more days" with back tightness.

Jason Heyward underwent an appendectomy last night in Denver; there's no current prediction as to when he'll return to the Braves lineup.

Kyle Lohse, very apparently, dislocated his left pinky in his first win with the Brewers. He's not expected to miss his next start, as it's on his non-pitching hand.

Jake Arrieta was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after giving up 16 walks in 19 innings this season thus far for the Orioles.

Links:

- Yeah, Darelle Revis threw out the first pitch on Monday, but the other first pitch thrown by twenty-two-year-old triple-amputee veteran Michael Nicholson was 100x cooler.

- While in Boston, Josh Reddick and Brandon Moss visited an 11-year-old who was injured in last week's bombings at the Boston Marathon.

- The PostGame ranked MLB's most lopsided midseason trades ever.

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