Rays 12, Astros 0

MoiseKapenda Bower, The Sports XChange
The SportsXchange


HOUSTON -- Left-hander Matt Moore tossed seven shutout innings while Tampa Bay delivered a clinic on two-out production in the Rays' 12-0 victory over the Houston Astros Monday night at Minute Maid Park.
Before Rays third baseman Ryan Roberts cranked his second home run of the game, a solo shot with one out in the eighth inning, Tampa Bay (44-39) scored seven consecutive runs with two outs. Roberts' two-run shot off left-hander Dallas Keuchel (4-5) in the third began that stretch.
After stringing together three two-out hits in the fifth, the Rays amassed five consecutive singles with two outs in the seventh, four of which plated runs. With two outs in the eighth, Sean Rodriguez capped his first-ever four-hit game with a two-run double off Hector Ambriz.
Moore (11-3) matched his victory total from last season by surrendering just two hits and three walks while striking out nine. This outing was his first allowing no runs while working at least five innings since April 10 against the Texas Rangers.
In his first start of the season five days earlier, Moore blanked the Cleveland Indians for six innings.
What had been a bugaboo for Moore -- issuing walks -- was negated by nifty plays by his infield defense.
Moore entered his 17th start of the season leading the American League in walks with 48. Right off the bat, he walked the second batter he faced, Astros second baseman Jose Altuve. But Jason Castro followed by grounding into an inning-ending, unassisted double play turned by Rays first baseman James Loney.
Moore walked Matt Dominguez with two outs in the second but rallied to strike out shortstop Ronny Cedeno, his third strikeout of that frame.
He induced another double play to escape a jam in the fourth, this time getting Dominguez to roll a ground ball to second baseman Ben Zobrist with runners on the corners and one out.
Keuchel also struggled with his control, but the Rays were quick to capitalize.
After stranding five runners over the first and second innings, Keuchel surrendered a two-out, three-run home run to Roberts in the third. In the fifth, Keuchel walked Yunel Escobar with one out before succumbing to the bottom third of the Rays lineup.
Roberts, catcher Jose Lobaton and right fielder Sam Fuld stroked successive singles, with Lobaton and Fuld delivering run-scoring hits that knocked Keuchel from the game and supplied Moore a 5-0 lead.
NOTES: Rays third baseman Evan Longoria was available for pinch-hitting duty after missing the previous two games with a re-occurrence of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. ... Rays rookie Wil Myers made his second start as the designated hitter, in part to give him an extra day to adjust to the roof at Minute Maid Park. Myers has made 12 starts in right field. ... Astros right fielder Jimmy Paredes was in the starting lineup, one day after being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. Paredes was scheduled to start on Sunday but was later scratched because of concerns he would arrive at the park in time for first pitch.