Indians-Rays Preview

The Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Rays lost two of three in their season-opening series, but manager Joe Maddon won't complain about his team's effort.

Looking to get back on track, the Rays host a Cleveland Indians team hoping to build on a successful opening set Friday night.

Tampa Bay led after six innings of Tuesday's 7-4 opening day loss to Baltimore on Tuesday and was tied in the fifth of Thursday's 6-3 defeat. Sandwiched between was a comeback 8-7 win on a walk-off homer by Matt Joyce.

"It was a really entertaining, hard-fought three games, and I'm really proud of how our guys performed," Maddon told the Rays' official website. "As our group comes together, the new guys get more involved and come together, we're going to see us kind of take off. I was really pleased with the three games."

Evan Longoria went 2 for 4 and got the Rays within three in the ninth with a deep fly off the wall, but was called out for passing teammate Ben Zobrist on the bases as he headed into second for what would have been a double.

"It's one of those things you're taught to always keep your head up,'' Maddon said. "It's unfortunate. And again, you always tell the trail runner to watch the guy in front of you. That's baserunning 101. Longo feels terrible about it, I'm sure.''

Longoria went 5 for 12 in the series while Zobrist was 5 for 11 with four RBIs.

Tampa Bay looks to bounce back by giving the ball to Matt Moore, who went 1-4 with a 5.07 ERA in his first nine starts last year but was 10-7 with a 3.31 ERA the rest of the way in his first full major league season.

The left-hander did struggle twice in July against the Indians (2-1), allowing seven runs, eight hits and 10 walks in 9 2-3 innings.

"They have a solid lineup," Moore said. "We've been doing our homework the last couple of days. I've never seen a couple of those guys before in their lineup. So it's going to be an advantage for somebody."

Cleveland pitchers yielded three runs and nine hits to win the first two at Toronto before Brett Myers was battered for seven runs on four homers in five innings of Thursday's 10-8 loss to the Blue Jays. Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds each homered for the Indians, who overcame deficits of two and three runs.

"It's very encouraging to see that when we're down like that, we keep fighting,'' Myers said.

Santana, who had three hits in the finale, is 6 for 13. Teammate Michael Brantley is 6 for 11.

Zach McAllister takes the mound for Cleveland after going 6-8 with a 4.24 ERA in 22 starts as a rookie. The right-hander allowed five runs - one earned - while striking out 13 and walking seven over 11 2-3 innings to go 1-0 in two starts versus Tampa Bay in 2012.

"Every time I take the mound," McAllister told the Indians' official website, "I want our team to know we have a very good chance to win no matter who it is (we're facing)."

Cleveland and Tampa Bay split the eight meetings last season.

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