ST. PETERSBURG -- Matt Moore held the Red Sox hitless through five innings and escaped a key bases-loaded jam in the sixth as the Rays took Wednesday's rubber game, 4-0, at Tropicana Field.Moore had been in a similar situation just five days before when he took a no-hitter into the
ST. PETERSBURG -- Matt Moore held the Red Sox hitless through five innings and escaped a key bases-loaded jam in the sixth as the Rays took Wednesday's rubber game, 4-0, at Tropicana Field.
Moore had been in a similar situation just five days before when he took a no-hitter into the fifth and let Tampa Bay's lead collapse in the sixth. This time, though, he got out of the jam en route to seven scoreless innings.
"I was able to not have a bad relapse," Moore said. "I was able to reset with the bases loaded there and just to be able to stay on track and get a couple of those outs was probably the biggest reason [for success]."
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Moore said it was the best he's felt pitching in "a long period of time." He returned from Tommy John surgery late last season, and has recorded scoreless seven-inning performances in two of his last four outings. He had no scoreless starts in his first 12 starts.
And while the big inning has plagued him -- even in starts he was otherwise solid -- Moore was able to escape it this time out by inducing a popup from David Ortiz and a flyout from Hanley Ramirez.
"Matt set the tone right out of the gate," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Did a lot of good things for us. He had a wipeout changeup. He made some big pitches. He got in one big jam there that they put him in. ...They got their hits and he had to make some pitches. And he did."
David Price was on the mound for the Red Sox, pitching in his fourth game at Tropicana Field since leaving the Rays in 2014. He labored through 6 1/3 innings, giving up four runs. He allowed a homer and an RBI double to Brandon Guyer, who was activated from the disabled list before the game.
"Bad," said Price. "Again, I'm just putting us behind the eight-ball early on in games. I'm not setting the tone the way that I need to. It's tough.
Boston only had two other hits outside of the sixth inning. The Rays had allowed at least five runs in each of the last 13 games, a fact that Cash called "shocking." But they ended that streak while earning their second win in the last 14 games. The Red Sox dropped their seventh game in the last 10 while finishing June with a 10-16 mark.
"I like this team, I like our guys, I like the way we come in here every day and the effort that we continue to put forth," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We've got some adjustments and some work to do in certain areas. But this is a group that doesn't roll over and I'm firmly confident in them."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
He's the Guy: Guyer immediately made his presence felt, leading off the second inning in his first at-bat with a homer to left-center. In the third inning, he brought home a run on a double down the left-field line.
"I'm just happy to help the team win," Guyer said. "It's good to be back with the guys." More >
Costly caught stealing: The Red Sox generated their first rally of the day in the fifth, as Jackie Bradley Jr. and Bryce Brentz worked walks to put two on with two outs at a time Moore still had a no-hitter going. But Bradley tried to steal third and Moore caught him before coming home with the pitch to end the inning.
Mo problem: After pitching five no-hit innings to start the game, Moore found himself in trouble in the sixth when he allowed three hits. But he got David Ortiz to pop out to third and Hanley Ramirez to fly out to right field to end the threat and keep the score 4-0 in Tampa Bay's favor.
Hanley can't cash in, gets hurt: Not only did Ramirez fly out to right in perhaps the most critical at-bat of the game in that sixth inning, but he exited in the bottom of the eighth with soreness in his right side. Ramirez thinks he suffered the injury overswinging at the first pitch of the at-bat for a strike.
"Just my side got really tight," Ramirez said. "I talked to John and we're just trying to prevent something big. He told me that, 'We're not going to put your season on the line. Take care of that and be ready to go Friday.'" More >
"The energy and the crowd out there was pretty cool, with all the kids out there. It drowned out some of those other fans."
-- Cash, on how the noon-game campers were louder than the Red Sox fans
"I've got to pitch better. That's the way it is right now. It's nothing else. It's not bad luck. It's me." -- Price
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The Rays had allowed at least five runs in 13 straight games coming into Wednesday. Against the Red Sox, the top scoring team in baseball, the Rays allowed no runs.
Since leaving the Rays, Price has lost all three road starts at Tropicana Field, getting a total of one run from his offense.
Red Sox: Following a day off on Thursday, knuckleballer Steven Wright will open a nine-game homestand for the Red Sox on Friday night against the Angels at 7:10 p.m. ET. Wright struggled in his last start, giving up seven hits and eight runs (three earned) over 4 2/3 innings.
Rays:Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 3.93 ERA) will start for the Rays against the Tigers at Tropicana Field at 7:10 ET on Thursday. Detroit took two of three from Tampa Bay when the two teams met at Comerica Park five weeks ago. Odorizzi allowed five runs in five innings in his last start, while Tigers starter Jordan Zimmermann gave up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings.
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Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.