Well, that was unexpected. The Rays bats came alive tonight against Bartolo Colon and his band of merry AAA-pitchers, scoring thirteen runs over the first five innings to put the Yankees in a hole they would never get out of. A night after clinching the AL East crown, the hangover was indeed evident for the Bronx (Car)Bombers. Rays hitters rapped out 15 runs and 17 hits against six Yankee pitchers and were also helped out by four errors, two courtesy of five-time Gold Glover Derek Jeter.
Offensively, there's just too much to go into great detail about. Ben Zobrist, B.J. Upton, and Johnny Damon homered, and Upton finished the night a double short of the cycle. Every single Rays hitter reached base on the night. Yep, 15 Rays hitters reached base including Reid Brignac who got his first hit since September fourteenth at Baltimore. Casey Kotchman improved to 9-for-9 against Aaron Laffey. Most starters for both teams were out of the game by the fifth inning when the game turned into a AAA showdown. Members of the #FREECANZLER movement will be happy to hear the the 'Yes We Canz' poster child knocked his first Major League hit with a single to right-center in the fifth inning.
Despite the offensive outburst, the real story of this game was Matt Moore. In his first Major League start, the rookie pitched five shutout innings, allowing four hits and just one walk while striking out 11. He induced 15 swinging strikes on 84 pitches (17.9%) and averaged 94.45 MPH on the fastball.
He made Andruw Jones look foolish in his first two at-bats, K'ing him twice. Jones was happy Moore left after the fifth as he hit a two-run homer off of Dane De La Rosa A.K.A. DDLR A.K.A. Dance Dance La Revolución. Moore didn't face the best the Yankees have to offer tonight as Cano, Granderson, and ARod all took the night off, but I think everyone can be pleased-as-punch by this start. He might not get another one this year, but I know every Rays fan will be excited to see him (at some point) next year.
Just a bit north, the Angels faced the Jays in Toronto. Edwin 'E5' Encarnacion led the Jays to victory with a walk-off solo-homer in the bottom of the twelfth inning. That breaks the tie between the Wild Card challengers at least for a day. In terms of the Wild card itself...
The Red Sox had an off day today, so, with the win, the Rays move up a 1/2 game to two games back in the Wild Card chase. Rays face fickle Toronto starter Brandon Morrow on the morrow at 7:10PM EST. David Price is on the bump as the Rays hope to build on this offensive eruption and hope the Red Sox sink ever deeper into despair. Remember, there's free parking and $10 party deck tickets if you want to make a night of it.