Even when they’re struggling at the plate, solid pitching continues to help the Tampa Bay Rays win games.
Roberto Hernandez looks to continue his success against the NL and help the Rays build on an extra-inning victory Sunday against the San Francisco Giants.
Tampa Bay (65-45) averaged 4.7 runs while winning five of six before totaling three runs in the last three games. However, the Rays managed enough to avoid a third straight loss with Saturday’s 2-1, 10-inning victory over San Francisco.
Wil Myers had two hits, including the winning single with the bases loaded, and David Price threw nine strong innings in his duel with fellow Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum to help the Rays snap the Giants’ three-game winning streak.
The Rays are 11-3 against NL opponents this season while San Francisco (49-60) is 3-7 against the AL.
Tampa Bay’s starting pitchers are second in the AL with a 3.77 ERA, and have allowed one or no runs 39 times.
Hernandez (6-11, 4.71 ERA) gave up two Tuesday, but he also completed his first game since 2010 when he was pitching for Cleveland and known as Fausto Carmona. The right-hander surrendered a two-run homer in the ninth inning and four other hits in a 5-2 win over Arizona to improve to 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA against NL opponents this season.
Hernandez has allowed three or fewer runs in six straight starts.
“I controlled, threw strikes, kept the ball down, made a lot of ground balls,” Hernandez said. “Whenever I go to the mound, I never think about what happened (previously). I think about today.”
Hernandez’s only appearance against the Giants came in 2011 when he yielded three runs in six innings of a 3-1 loss.
Myers, who had his 12-game hitting streak snapped in Friday’s 4-1 loss, is batting .431 with 15 RBIs in his last 17 contests. He recorded his first walk-off hit in front of his parents Saturday.
“He does not lack for confidence,” manager Joe Maddon said. “He really wanted to be in that moment.”
Jeff Francoeur had three hits but the top four hitters in San Francisco’s lineup went 0 for 16 on Saturday.
Third basemen Pablo Sandoval is 1 for 13 in August. Buster Posey is 1 for 7 in the series and 5 for 34 in his last 10 games.
Guillermo Moscoso makes his first start of the season Sunday after he allowed a two-run homer, another hit, two walks and struck out three in 2 2-3 innings of a 7-3 loss at Philadelphia on Tuesday in his Giants debut.
Acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs on July 26, the right-hander gets the chance to start now that Barry Zito has been relegated to the bullpen.
“How long this will be, I can’t tell you,” manager Bruce Bochy told the Giants’ official website. “But it was time to mix it up, change it up.”
Moscoso went 8-10 with a 4.10 ERA in 24 starts during 2011 and 2012 for Oakland and Colorado. He was 0-1 with an 8.38 ERA in two starts against Tampa while with Oakland in 2011.
Evan Longoria is hitless in his last 17 at-bats, but is 1 for 3 with a double and three walks versus Moscoso.