When you are left-handed and you throw as hard as Matt Moore you are going to walk a lot of batters, and he did Tuesday night. You are also going to strike out a lot of batters, and Moore did that as well. But it's what you do in between those all those walks that make the difference, and that's where Moore helped himself. "He did not cave in," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
The result was six innings of often wild, often effective pitching that helped the Rays to a 5-1 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays in front of 12,041 at Tropicana Field. The Rays won the first two games of this three-game series to cool off the Blue Jays, who arrived in town Monday riding an 11-game winning streak. Moore tied his career highs of 11 strikeouts and six walks. It's no wonder he threw a career-high 120 pitches over his six innings. He allowed only four hits and the run, which means that when the Jays weren't looking at ball four or swinging through strike three they weren't knocking Moore around. "It was the bend but not break kind of situation," Maddon said. Moore won his second straight start to become the sixth 10-game winner in the major leagues. "Anytime there's six walks and I can get through the sixth inning it's a pretty unusual thing to happen," Moore said. "We're pretty fortunate that (the second inning) wound up staying the way it did." Moore's early lack of command caught up with him in that second when a pair of walks helped the Jays score the first run of the game. Maicer Izturis followed a two-out walk to J.P. Arencibia with an opposite field single, which scored Rajai Davis. Davis didn't reach on a walk, but rather on a fielder's choice. Marc DeRosa, who was forced at second base, had drawn a leadoff walk. The Rays' offense backed Moore, tying the score in the bottom of the second inning on a two-out RBI single by Desmond Jennings. The Rays didn't score in the third inning but did provide a glimpse of what was to come the following inning when Myers challenged the arm of Jays right fielder Jose Bautista. Myers, on first base after another fielder's choice retired Evan Longoria at second, hustled around to third in a single by Yunel Escobar that Bautista fielded in shallow right field. Bautista, who owns one of the better arms in the league, made his usual strong throw to third base, but Myers was called safe after sliding around the tag of Edwin Encarnacion. "I loved Wil's audacity to go from first to third," Maddon said. The Rays ran on Bautista again in the fourth inning, scoring two runs in the process. The first Ray to test Bautista was Jose Molina, on third base after drawing a leadoff walk. The Rays loaded the bases when Kelly Johnson was hit by a pitch and Jennings singled to center. Sean Rodriguez swung at the first pitch from Mark Buehrle and flied to right field. Molina took off, and Bautista threw home. Arencibia caught the ball in front of the plate on the first base side, turned and reached for Molina, but Molina also slid around the tag. "I wish I could tell you what I did," Molina said. "I just tried to score. I knew I was going. He didn't look like he was going to tag me hard. I think he thought that I was going to give up easy so I just did one of those slides - 'Matrix,' kind of. I don't know another word for it, but I call it lucky. "That was luck. A lot of luck." The other runners advanced on Bautista's throw, allowing Johnson to come home when Ben Zobrist flied to right field. The Rays added another run when Myers singled home Jennings after the Jays walked Longoria to pitch to the rookie Myers. That was third time in four games Myers came to the plate following an intentional walk. The Yankees walked Longoria on Saturday to load the bases, and Myers made them pay with a grand slam - his first big league home run. The Yankees also walked Loney in the ninth inning Sunday to get to Myers and won that battle when Myers hit into an inning-ending force play. To sum it up: That's three intentional walks to pitch to Myers and five RBI from Myers following an intentional walk. When asked when he thought teams would stop walking batters to get to Myers, Maddon said, "Relatively soon." Moore found himself in trouble in the third inning when he loaded the bases on a single and a pair of walks, but got out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts. "In that particular moment, getting out of that jam, walking off the field is like your second chance, a new life," he said. "The game is still tied up at 1-1. It's not ideal to have your pitch count that high, but the damage isn't done to the entire team, it's just that my night got all that much harder." He walked five through the first three innings when he had an Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh-like line of three innings pitched, two hits, six strikeouts and five walks. Moore settled down after the third inning. He said he stopped "squeezing" the ball, which allowed him to make better pitches. He allowed two hits and walked one more batter. Moore's erratic command is similar to what fellow lefty (and eventual Cy Young Award winner) David Price experienced during his early years. "He's going to walk some people," Maddon said. "That's going to eventually go away. But in the meantime, he's going to walk some people, you have to accept that. ... He didn't give up a lot of hits (Tuesday) while he was walking people. That's the secret as to why he was able to survive all those walks.".