Despite loss, Rays encouraged by Moore's start

Starter allows two homers but goes seven innings

Despite loss, Rays encouraged by Moore's start

PHOENIX -- Tampa Bay's four-game winning streak is over. The club is now five games under the .500 mark and eight games behind the first-place Orioles in the American League East standings.

Yet somehow Rays starter Matt Moore managed to avoid making the 5-0 shutout by Arizona ace Zack Greinke on Tuesday at Chase Field a total loss.

"As far as Matt Moore goes, there's a lot to be really positive about," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He was extremely efficient, and that was outstanding. I know the long ball beat him up a little bit, but you can argue the stuff coming out of his hand and the way he attacked hitters was as good as any game that he has had."

Moore was good. He just wasn't good enough. And the hope is that Moore and the rest of his teammates will find a way to get back on track. The Rays are 4-5 on the 10-game road trip that ends Wednesday in Arizona.

"I like the way the guy are playing right now for sure," Cash said. "We've had a nice little run, and we hope to pick it up tomorrow. ... I thought it was a really good outing for Matt and something that we can really build off."

Moore was charged with five runs on seven hits in seven innings. He struck out three and walked one batter in the 89-pitch outing.

He was stung by two home runs -- a three-run homer by third baseman Jake Lamb in the fourth and a two-run shot by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in the sixth -- and it proved to be the difference in the game. You can argue the left-hander's biggest contribution Tuesday was the way he pitched deep into the game to save a tired bullpen from extra work. Relievers Dana Eveland and Ryan Garton followed Moore on the mound, but the others were allowed to rest.

"I felt like I was able to command the three pitches as good as I have all year," Moore said. "It's just that home run with Lamb right there stinks. He put a better swing on it than the pitch was. The one to Goldschmidt was kind of just laying it in there for him."

In the end, Moore refused to make excuses. He didn't complain about how long he stood on the mound in the fourth inning when D-backs manager Chip Hale argued and was eventually ejected by home-plate umpire Mark Ripperger. Moore worked around the divot Greinke created on the mound until the clay dried up later in the game and said it was no big deal.

Moore competed and showed the type of pitcher he can be for the Rays. And for one night, that was almost enough to take away the sting of defeat.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com and covered the Rays on Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.