Moore extends impressive stretch amid trade talk

Lefty, who could be dealt by Monday's Deadline, gets through 6 in 10th straight start

Moore extends impressive stretch amid trade talk

LOS ANGELES -- Matt Moore slowly walked off the mound on a hot, humid Southern California day, with the sun bearing down. Aside from the spattering of Rays fans at Dodger Stadium cheering, it was largely unceremonious.

With trade rumors swirling around the Rays, and particularly Moore, Wednesday afternoon's start, a 3-1 win, quite possibly could have been the lefty's last for the team that drafted him more than nine years ago.

Moore's start mirrored many like the nine that came before it. In each of his last 10 appearances, he's gone at least six innings, showing to many interested teams that he still has ace potential.

"I'm here. It doesn't feel like I'm going anywhere, to be honest with you," Moore said. "I know this season hasn't quite been the way that a lot of us in this clubhouse had expected it to go, but we're going to keep putting one foot in front of the other."

Moore pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing only one unearned run. The win broke up a four-game Rays losing streak and ended their road trip at 4-6. Moore now has made six consecutive quality starts and has been a consistent pitcher during a two-month stretch for the Rays where consistency has been few and far between. He even managed to get his second hit of the season.

"It's not hard to believe, but what he's done over here in the last eight, nine, 10 starts has been really impressive," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "One unearned run, and it was a fluke at that. Really controlled a balanced lineup and had everything going."

Cash noted that Moore did have a couple of "misfires," referring to the four walks he issued to the Dodgers. But the lefty was able to keep his composure, even with men on base. In the first inning, back-to-back hitters reached with one out, but Moore got out of it with a double play.

Nursing a two-run lead in the seventh, Moore walked Joc Pederson to start the inning. But he then retired the next two batters before walking off the mound

Moore pinpoints his June 7 start against the D-backs as the time when things started to click. He allowed five runs that night, but went seven innings and controlled his pitch count. Since then, he's been able to replicate his success almost every time he takes the mound -- a stretch he calls one of the best of his career.

"I didn't feel like I was draining myself of too much sweat," Moore said. "I was happy with how I was able to contain myself and not overwork in some of those innings with runners on."

Sam Blum is a reporter for based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.