ST. PETERSBURG - Matt Moore was sitting in the small storage room behind the Rays dugout during the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday, drinking a bottle of water when he first learned he was headed to next week's All-Star Game in New York. At least Moore believes that's when he found out. "I think David (Price) might have spilled the beans," Moore said. Price stopped by to chat, and Moore thought he heard Price say the words "All-Star" as Price walked away.
"I kind of flushed it and didn't think much about, and after I came out of the game he told me congratulations," Moore said. So Moore had an idea why he was being summoned by pitching coach Jim Hickey to manager Joe Maddon's office after earning his 13th win of the season in the Rays 4-3 victory against the Twins in front of 24,751 on a camp day matinee at Tropicana Field - the Rays' eighth straight win. "Am I getting sent down?" Moore joked with Hickey. Maddon, who was joined by executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman, informed Moore he was added to the American League roster, replacing Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish, who is on the disabled list with a back strain. Moore walked out of the office and was surrounded by his teammates, who showered him with beer and water. He said that was the best part of his day. "I haven't had that feeling before where everybody is in the corner on me," Moore said. "I was just informed I made the All-Star team for the first time. I can't really explain what I was feeling over there but it was an excitement, a giddiness that I haven't had in a really long time if ever, to be honest with you." Moore joins second baseman Ben Zobrist and head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield as the Rays representatives in the game played at Citi Field. "I'm pumped, really excited for him, really excited to have a teammate there that I get to share the experience with," Zobrist said. "He certainly deserves it. He's been stellar for us all year long." The 23-year-old Moore won his 12th game of the season Saturday hours after the All-Star rosters were announced. He was in danger of joining Atlanta's Rick Mahler as the only 13-game winners in the last 28 years to not make the All-Star team. "It means a lot. To be honest with you my second year in the big leagues if you were to ask me a couple of years ago I would just have been happy to be here," Moore said. ". I'm very excited to see what it's all about. I'm kind of left without words, to be honest with you." As he has since emerging from his three-game losing streak in May, Moore pitched like an All-Star on Thursday. He retired the first 11 Twins before walking Joe Mauer with two out in the fifth. He held the Twins hitless until a two-out double to left field by Brian Dozier lined a two-out double to left field in the sixth inning. Moore left the game in the eighth inning with runners on first and second and one out. Alex Torres loaded the bases before allowing a two-out double that closed the books on Moore. He was charged with three runs on three hits and struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings. Maddon said that was the best he's seen Moore pitch this season, and that says a lot since Moore is 13-3 with a 3.44 ERA. Those 13 wins are a team record for victories before the All-Star Break. Moore, who began the season 8-0, has now won five straight starts. Maddon said that is because his delivery has improved and with it his command. "That's what he's going to look like for many years," Maddon said. "We got to keep him well, because that's what he's going to look like." firstname.lastname@example.org (813) 259-7227 Twitter: @RMooneyTBO