ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Good things come to those who wait, especially when they collect 13 pitching victories before the All-Star break.
Tampa Bay Rays left-hander Matt Moore did just that, working into the eighth inning of a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins in a Thursday matinee at Tropicana Field.
Once word leaked out that Moore had been added to the American League All-Star team, he didn't have to wait for the official postgame announcement from manager Joe Maddon and executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. Instead, the news was slyly delivered by teammate David Price, who represented the Rays last season en route to a Cy Young Award.
"I'm really excited. It means a lot," said Moore (13-3), was selected by AL manager Jim Leyland to replace injured Texas Rangers starter Yu Darvish. "I'm ecstatic about being a part of the festivities and being at the game with the best players in the game."
The second-year standout seemed more excited by the celebratory mood of his teammates, who doused him with water and beer as he stepped out of the manager's office.
"It was really pretty shocking," said Moore, who had just broken Price's club record for victories before the All-Star Game.
Moore scattered three hits and struck out 10 batters in 7 1/3 innings, and Luke Scott and Evan Longoria hit back-to-back home runs to highlight the eighth consecutive win for the Rays -- the longest active streak in the majors -- and the 12th of their last 13.
"Well, it's been pretty special," Maddon said of the midseason surge. "We didn't kill the ball. They pitched well against us. We're fortunate that we pitched so well against them."
Scott and Longoria connected in the sixth inning off Minnesota starter Mike Pelfrey (4-7) for a 3-1 lead. The Rays added a critical insurance run in the seventh on a triple by Ben Zobrist and a Wil Myers single off reliever Josh Roenicke.
Moore did not allow a base runner until Joe Mauer drew a walk with two down in the fourth inning. Brian Dozier got the first hit off the left-hander with a two-out double in the sixth.
Jamey Carroll followed with a tying single that snapped a string of 22 1/3 scoreless innings pitched by Moore, the fourth-longest in club history.
Moore was lifted after walking Clete Thomas and giving up a one-out single by Pedro Florimon. Relief pitcher Alex Torres retired Dozier on a fly ball and walked pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit to load the bases.
Mauer closed the book on Moore while chasing Torres with a single that made it 4-3. Joel Peralta took over and struck out Trevor Plouffe to protect the lead.
Tampa Bay opened the scoring with a run on three hits in the third. Sean Rodriguez, Matt Joyce and Myers hit consecutive one-out singles off Pelfrey, who evaded further damage by getting Scott to ground into a double play.
Myers matched a season high with three hits, and James Loney added two to pace the 10-hit attack for Tampa Bay.
Pelfrey allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out five batters and walked none.
"He didn't locate as well as he did last time, but I still thought he threw the ball really well today," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Pelfrey, whose last outing Saturday at Toronto produced the only victory for Minnesota in its last 12 games.
Jake McGee pitched a perfect ninth for his first career save after blowing four other opportunities.
NOTES: Mauer is hitting .352 this season against left-handers. He has a .419 career average at Tropicana Field and owns a .374 mark overall against Tampa Bay. ... The home run by Longoria was his first extra-base hit since June 22. ... The Rays have swept back-to-back series -- three against the White Sox and four against the Twins. Tampa Bay had not swept a four-game set against Minnesota at home since Aug. 10-13, 2001. ... Minnesota once won 14 games in a row against Tampa Bay, but the Rays have prevailed in the last nine meetings to even the all-time series at 60 victories apiece. ... Tampa Bay will enter the break having played 16 of its last 20 games at Tropicana Field. The Rays are 14-3 with three home games against the Houston Astros remaining in that stretch. ... Minnesota placed LHP Caleb Thielbar on the bereavement list after the death of his grandmother.