Rays shut out Orioles behind Moore, 'pen

Rays shut out Orioles behind Moore, 'pen

Rays shut out Orioles behind Moore, 'pen
ST. PETERSBURG -- It may not have been the prettiest performance, but Matt Moore's start was good enough to get the Rays a win.

The lefty tossed 5 1/3 scoreless innings en route to a 2-0 victory over Baltimore on Friday night at Tropicana Field in the first game of a crucial weekend series between two American League East teams battling to make the postseason.

Moore finished the game with six hits and three walks allowed, but used six strikeouts to keep Baltimore off the board.

"I felt like I had a runner on every inning," Moore said. "There wasn't really a rhythm to the game. It was just plugging away, trying to get them one out at a time."

Tampa Bay hit a pair of solo homers that proved to be the difference off Baltimore starter Tommy Hunter, who allowed six hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings.

The win was also the third straight for the club, which has four shutouts in its last six games for the first time in franchise history. The three-game win streak is also the longest since Tampa Bay won four straight from June 7-10.

"We have been a back-and-forth group, there's no doubt about that," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I think the component of defense has re-emerged and really helped us a lot. We've not giving the other side any cheap runs, and that's been a big part of our success, too."

Neither starting pitcher allowed a run through the first three innings. While Hunter faced just 10 batters in that span, Moore was tested a bit more, allowing four hits and two walks in the three frames, but his three strikeouts allowed him to fight through it.

Perhaps the most stressful moments for Moore came right out of the gate in the first inning. The Orioles loaded the bases with two outs before a strikeout to Mark Reynolds ended the frame.

"There wasn't any beating around the bush," Moore said of his approach. "We were gonna attack him with heaters early and then try to finish him with offspeed pitches."

The game's first run came on a homer from B.J. Upton in the fourth, when he drilled the first pitch he saw to center field for his 10th home run on the season. The solo shot also made him just the eighth player in Major League history to hit 100 home runs with 200 stolen bases before turning 28, joining Rickey Henderson, Bobby and Barry Bonds, among others.

"Any time you can be in the same sentence as any of those guys, it's always an honor," Upton said. "I'm glad I'm in the position I'm in to be able to do that. Rickey Henderson is definitely one of the guys that I looked up to growing up and watching baseball."

Upton's brother Justin also hit his 100th career homer on Friday for the D-backs.

"Mom and dad have to be really proud tonight," Maddon said of the feat. "Just think of the parents at the moment, that's pretty neat."

Desmond Jennings doubled the lead when he led off the sixth with his own solo knock that had just enough to get over the left-field wall.

"I guess you could look at it positive -- I'd much rather give up solo shots than with guys on, but you don't want to give them up in general," Hunter said. "The first one was a 0-0 fastball, that's going to happen. The second was pretty frustrating. I had him set up for exactly what I wanted to happen and I just didn't execute."

The Orioles tried to make a late push in the eighth against reliever Joel Peralta, knocking a pair of one-out singles. The righty buckled down, though, striking out Reynolds and pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit to get out of the inning.

"It was a great fastball to Reynolds, and I think it was a split to Betemit," Maddon said. "He had a great inning. It was a little higher stress or duress inning, but it wasn't because he threw the ball poorly."

Greg Zeck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.