After allowing 19 runs in his last three starts, Matt Moore regained the form that saw him begin the season 8-0. He wasn't perfect, allowing three runs in 6.1 innings of work, but was far more controlled and balanced.
He cruised for five innings, allowing just two hits and throwing 64 pitches. Things got bumpy in the sixth with the Rays leading 4-0 as Reid Brignac lead off with a bloop single and Brett Gardner and Jayson Nix walked to load the bases for Robinson Cano. After getting ahead 0-2, Moore threw a breaking ball in the dirt which bounced away from Lobaton, allowing the runners to advance and Brignac to score. A Cano sac fly and Travis Hafner ground out would score two runs, bringing the Yankees within two. Vernon Wells grounded out to end the inning.
Moore's night came to an end with one out in the seventh after Lyle Overbay hit a ground-rule double to left. There wasn't a great replay, but it didn't appear the ball, which was slicing foul, hit the chalk. The umpire was some 30 feet away and was likely influenced by Sean Rodriguez's diving attempt to catch it. Moore's changeup was particularly effective at keeping the Yankee hitters off balance enough so they couldn't sit on his fastball. He threw the pitch just 13 times but registered strikes with 11 of them. It was the type of start the Rays needed after Jeremy Hellickson's good outing in Boston last night. Back to back quality starts. Back to back victories. It's been awhile since we've seen that.
The offense was key once again, with everyone besides designated hitter (!) Jose Molina contributing at least something on offense. The 1-4 hitters went 9-17 with three doubles and two home runs, both from Evan Longoria. Those two homers were courtesy of Yankee Stadium. They weren't hit especially hard, but each carried out to right-center. There's a zero percent chance those would be home runs at the Trop. Yunel Escobar, in a mini slump, had a big night in going 2-4 with a two run homer to dead center that pushed the Rays lead to five.
Jamey Wright pitched an inning of relief and was nearly Alex Cobb'd while doing so. Gardner hit a curveball up the middle that Wright was able to deflect with his pitching hand before his shattered his teeth. It was a scary moment for a team who had just seen one of it's best starters carted off the field on a stretcher not a week earlier.