Matt Moore entered this game with a 12-3 record, with the Rays only dropping four of his games on the season. Even with those three losses - which were admittedly pretty bad, and likely the effect of starting on short rest before the first loss - Moore has posted All-Star numbers this season.
This start had all the expectation of Moore showing the league exactly how All-Star worthy he was. He needed 30 pitches for the first nine batters and was burning through the Minnesota line up, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning. How's that, Commissioner??? (See Below)
Maddon had mixed up his line up after the near-five-hour affair last night, with today's start time a mere 12 hours and 13 minutes removed from last night's win. The top of the order went Joyce-Myers-Scott-Longoria-Loney.
Side Note: Could this lineup be a sample of the future? There's a lot to like about the power and speed of Joyce in lead off, Myers getting tons of opportunities in second, Luke Scott's new swing to drive either home, the Longo and Joyce batting them around...
Wil Myers had singled in a run with Sean Rodriguez (the ninth hitter, playing shortstop) and Matt Joyce on base to give the Rays their first score in the third, but the Rays offense didn't truly pick up until the sixth inning, when Luke Scott and Evan Longoria walloped back-to-back home runs.
Scott had recently improved his game by swinging for less power, but this beaut slammed into the back wall in right field.
By that point, Matt Moore was boasting 8 strikeouts on 83 pitches through six. He would finish the matinee with 10 K's, giving all the summer campers free pizza.* He walks two and allowed three hits with one run, hurling 106 pitches over 7.1 innings.
*Today's 12:10 affair had 24,751 in attendance. Thanks summer camps!
Maddon brought Zobrist and Escobar into the game in the seventh inning, previously claiming he wanted them to rest. Zorilla responded by legging out a triple, and Myers singled him home for the Rays fourth run, and even stole third, his first stolen base of his major league career!
Later in the game, Alex Torres proved to be human, which was unexpected... He took the reigns with two on in the eighth, generating a fly out to Myers (who would hold the runners to first and second with a great throw), before kinda losing control. He walked Ryan Doumit to load the bases, and then allowed a Joe Mauer full count single to score two.
Maddon had been working on getting Torres into back-to-back game shape, his first attempt on the first and second game of this four game series. After not pitching any yesterday's 13-innings, he returned seemingly out of focus. He was lifted for Joel Peralta, who put the lead on ice by striking out Plouffe.
Jake McGee, fresh off his three strike out inning in relief of Hellickson last night, earned the save with a groundout of Chris Parmelee, and swinging strikeouts of Oswaldo Arcia (who attempted to break the bat on his knee**) and center fielder Aaron Hicks.
Rays win, and sweep the Twins over four games -- their first 4-gamer against Minnesota since changing uniforms.
UPDATE: 4:00 PM
It was announced shortly after the game that Moore and his thirteen wins will be headed to New York City for the All-Star Game!
This is Moore's first nomination, and well deserved.