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Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
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Orioles hammer Moore, Rays to avoid sweep

ST. PETERSBURG - Rays manager Joe Maddon said Matt Moore's troubles began in Cleveland, on that miserably long night when Moore threw one inning and had his pitching schedule turned upside down after the rain washed out the rest of his outing.

Moore hasn't been the same since, losing his next two starts, including Sunday's thrashing by the Orioles in a game Baltimore had to hang on to win, 10-7, in front of 19,921 at Tropicana Field.

Moore isn't buying his manager's defense.

Cleveland had nothing to do with Detroit, Moore said, and his wild night against the Tigers had nothing to do with what went wrong Sunday against the Orioles.

"I would actually say I feel like I just got shelled to death more so than putting runners on when they didn't have to do very much," Moore said. "They were doing everything. Every time I looked up the ball was in the gap. Our outfielders were diving, running their butts off."

Moore walked six in addition to giving up seven hits in his previous start against the Tigers.

Against the Orioles, it was all hits — a career-high 12, including a club record-tying six doubles and a long home run by Adam Jones.

"In Detroit I gave up (seven) hits, but I didn't think many of those were barrel finders," Moore said. "They weren't gap-seeking missiles. (Sunday) is a little bit, I don't want to say reassuring, that's the wrong word, (but) when you get beat like I did in Detroit, that's what hurts the most. You didn't give yourself a chance to win. Well (Sunday) it was a legitimate beatdown. They definitely found the barrel a lot."

Moore, who began the season 8-0, is 0-2 in his past two outings. He pitched a total of seven innings in the losses and allowed 15 runs (14 earned). He allowed only 15 runs in his first 11 starts.

"The 8-0 start is obviously gone, and it's something that maybe was a little misleading, I guess you can say, but it definitely shows how my team was playing on that particular night," Moore said.

The Rays made a game of it Sunday, chipping away at what was a 9-1 deficit in the middle of the fourth inning. Ben Zobrist homered. Sam Fuld homered, his first since May 27, 2011. Fuld's was a two-run shot in the eighth inning that sent a charge through the Trop and sparked a late-game surge that enabled the Rays to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth.

But for the second straight game, Moore dug too deep of a hole for his offense to rally.

He allowed a career-high nine runs (eight of which were earned) in his five innings. He did that, he said, by throwing the wrong pitches at the wrong time.

Moore checked the video of the hits he allowed between innings and noticed that he was throwing the type of pitches deep in the count that he should have thrown on the first pitch. Or he was throwing fastballs when he had two strikes and the hitter was trying to protect the plate rather than making him chase an off-speed or breaking pitch outside the zone.

"They did a very good job of making me pay for those mistakes, especially late in the count," Moore said. "Those are when your pitches are supposed to be good, especially when I'm ahead in the count."

Moore allowed six of his 12 hits after getting two strikes on the batter. Six of those 12 hits came off change-ups and three off curveballs.

"(It's) just commanding of his pitches, just throwing his pitches where he wants to," Maddon said. "This whole season, really he has not been a command kind of a pitcher. Right now he's making mistakes that are being hit. I think earlier in the season he might have been making mistakes that were not being hit."

It hasn't helped that Moore's fastball velocity is not at the 95-mph level that it was last season, and Moore admitted maybe he's relying too much on his secondary pitches.

"It's nothing physical," Moore said. "There's no pain. I don't feel weak. It's something that I feel my fastball is my biggest weapon. It's what I need to pitch with for me to be successful. Obviously it would be nice to throw 95 again, sitting right around there, but those are things that are out of my control right now."
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