Moore, Rays win pitchers' duel vs. Sale, Sox

Bob Bellone, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox, along with their standout left-handers, are rolling in opposite directions toward the All-Star break.
Tampa Bay came out on top of a pitchers' duel between Matt Moore and Chicago ace Chris Sale on Saturday night with a 3-0 victory.
Moore (12-3) scattered five hits in 6 1/3 innings en route to his fourth consecutive triumph. He struck out six batters swinging, walked two and hit another to secure the seventh win in eight games for the Rays.
Moore is on the exact pace that last season produced a club-record 20 wins for teammate David Price, who won the AL Cy Young Award.
Sale (5-8), who was named to the American League All-Star team before the game, allowed all three runs (two earned) in seven innings as the White Sox lost for the eighth time in 10 games.
Sale has dropped a career-high six in a row, but AL manager Jim Leyland focused more on the paltry 31 runs of offensive support from his teammates in his 16 starts, including nine during his current winless streak of seven games.
Chicago manager Robin Ventura feels his pain.
"You can't expect him to blank everybody," Ventura said. "He's pitching fine, competing and doing all the things you want him to do. You don't get any runs, it seems kind of wasted."
"I'd definitely trade that in for a win today," Sale said of his selection. "It's an honor. I'm very thankful and fortunate to be in that position. I'm looking forward to it."
Rays manager Joe Maddon did not expect his hot-hitting team to have an easy time against Sale.
"You have to outpitch guys like that," he said. "Matt was up for the challenge."
The White Sox squandered several early opportunities to get to him. They threatened to open the scoring in the second inning when Jeff Keppinger led off with a double. Moore then struck out Conor Gillaspie and Dayan Viciedo before Gordon Beckham reached on an infield single, moving Keppinger to third. The left-hander escaped the jam by erasing Tyler Flowers on an infield popup.
Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead in its half of the inning. Yunel Escobar had a leadoff single and moved up when Jose Lobaton reached on an error by Gillaspie at third base. Luke Scott followed with an RBI double, and Lobaton crossed with an unearned run on a fielder's choice.
Moore worked into and out of trouble again in the third. He hit leadoff batter Alejandro De Aza with a pitch and walked Alexei Ramirez. The runners advanced on a wild pitch to Alex Rios, who lined out to Evan Longoria. The third baseman dived to the bag just ahead of De Aza for a double play, and Adam Dunn flew to deep left for the third out.
"That was a big inning that we were able to shut down with that play by Longo. It was very nice to have him over there," Moore said of Longoria, who has missed playing time recently with plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
The Rays scored an insurance run in the sixth inning when Sam Fuld delivered Wil Myers from third base with a two-out single.
Closer Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect ninth for his 10th consecutive save.
NOTES: Relief pitcher Jesse Crain also was named to represent the White Sox on the All-Star team, but he is on the disabled list with a shoulder strain and will be replaced by Twins closer Glen Perkins. ... Rays super utility player Ben Zobrist also was selected. ... Tampa Bay 1B James Loney, who extended his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games with a pair of singles against Chicago on Friday, was only a late defensive replacement Saturday. He began the day tied for the longest active hitting streak in the AL with Indians 2B Jason Kipnis, who went 0-for-4 in a loss to the Tigers. ... Saturday was "Turn Back the Clock Night" at Tropicana Field in a tribute to the 1970s. The Rays didn't come along until 1998, so they wore a uniform similar to the style worn by the 1979 Padres. The White Sox showed up in red-pinstriped look of their 1972 team. ... Tampa Bay has not committed an error in its last seven games and 11 of 12. Escobar has not erred in his last 44 games at shortstop for the Rays. The streak is second only to the team record 52 at the position, set by Chris Gomez in 2002. ... Tampa Bay will enter the break after playing 16 of 20 games at home. The Rays are 9-3 so far through that stretch. ... The White Sox, who have won only four of their last 22 on the road, have only one home game remaining -- a makeup date with the Cubs on Monday -- before the Midsummer Classic on July 16.

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