It's not as if he wasn't hitting righties well in April, but thanks to last year's early success, Rays fans couldn't wait to get a look at Matt Joyce in the month of May.
With Evan Longoria out with a hamstring tear, Matty Ice filled in the 'ol three-hole and went two-for-four with a RBI-triple and a solo home run. The triple led off the scoring in the first when Joyce crushed a Hector Noesi offering to dead center to score Ben Zobrist from first. I'd wager B.J. Upton would have caught it, but Mariners' CF Michael Saunders seemed a bit unsure of his surroundings and eased up as he hit the warning track. Joyce would score on a Luke Scott sac fly to give the Rays a 2-0 lead.
Joyce's homer came in the third when he sent a 3-2 Noesi offering into the right field stands for the Rays third and final run of the evening. That would be more than the Rays would need with Matt Moore and his Bullpen of Merry Relievers would need to lock down another Rays victory.
Moore gave his best Rick 'Effectively Wild Thing' Vaughn impression on the evening surrendering just one run through five innings and striking out seven on 101 pitches (13 whiffs!). The run came courtesy of a Michael Saunders homer in the third. At times, he'd miss his spot by feet, not inches, but at others, he'd power a 96 MPH heater under the hands or drop a devastating backdoor curve for strike three. He didn't have it all together tonight, but when you throw 96 from the left and are facing the Seattle Mariners, you can earn that W.
(I guess that spells WIN)
The bullpen did a helluva job in relief of Moore tonight. Burke Badenhop, Joel Peralta, and Fernando Rodney combined for four innings allowing just two hits and striking out five. Three of those belonging to Rodney who K'd the side in the ninth to pick up his eighth save of the year.
James Shields takes the bump tomorrow against Blake Beavan @ 7:10 PM. Go for it! Connect four.
(My only note tonight was that Jesus Montero is slow. Discuss)