Teams don’t score many runs against Rays starting pitcher Matt Moore. In 2013, no team has beat him. After Saturday’s game, the White Sox were part of that continuing trend.
Moore is now 5-0 in five starts after stymieing the Sox, who managed just one run against him, as their three-game winning streak was snapped in a 10-4 loss in front of 25,270 at U.S. Cellular Field.
Moore was strong, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk. The run came on Adam Dunn’s fourth-inning solo homer, which snapped a streak of 11 straight batters retired by the left-hander. Moore struck out nine batters in his six innings of work.
“He's a good pitcher,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “Nothing looks the same as far as watching him. He changes eye levels, in and out, back and forth. He really has kind of everything. You're not sitting on one speed or looking for one spot. He can move it around.”
“He was aggressive in the zone, getting ahead of most guys,” Sox catcher Tyler Flowers said. “His breaking ball seemed to be pretty sharp, tough to lay off, and then he mixed in a changeup, seemed to be just enough at appropriate times.”
Through five innings, Moore retired 15 of the first 17 hitters he faced. During the streak of 11 outs in a row, eight came via the strikeout. Even with a pair of singles added in the sixth, Moore was dominant. The Sox were just his latest victims, as he now owns five wins, no losses and a 1.13 ERA on the season.
“I’ve faced him a bunch too, even in the minor leagues. And he always seems to put together pretty good games,” Sox center fielder Jordan Danks said. “When he’s on, he’s kind of tough to beat."
While Moore was the pitcher the Sox couldn’t lay a finger on, the one they couldn’t keep their minds off was Gavin Floyd. The Sox starter Saturday night, Floyd didn’t last long, departing with two outs in the third inning with a flexor muscle strain in his right elbow, the same injury he battled last season.
Ventura said it looks like Floyd will head to the disabled list with the injury, though nothing’s official yet. He made two separate trips to the DL last year with injuries to his right elbow.
After throwing a pitch to Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, Flowers knew there was something amiss with his starting pitcher.
“He threw the last pitch to Longoria. I could tell he didn’t throw it like normal, so I kind of hesitated for a second, kind of replayed it in my head, and decided to go out there,” Flowers said. “And of course, he didn’t want to come out, but he was definitely in pain. So I told him, ‘I hate to do it to you, but I’ve got to call him out here.’ Hopefully it’s nothing too bad, but it seemed to be pretty painful for him at the time.”
[More: Floyd exits with elbow issue]
The Rays, meanwhile, had no trouble scoring off Sox pitchers. Floyd allowed a two-run first-inning homer to Ben Zobrist before he left the game, but it was just the beginning of a long night for the South Side staff.
Hector Santiago relieved Floyd -- and he’ll likely replace him in the rotation, too, according to Ventura -- and proceeded to allow four runs on 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings of work. Donnie Veal allowed another pair of runs on four hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings. Matt Lindstrom gave up two more runs in the ninth.
The Sox allowed season-highs in runs and in hits, as Tampa Bay belted out 19 on the night, five for extra bases. The 19 hits allowed were the most the Sox had given up since Sep. 12, 2011, when Detroit knocked them around for 21.
“They were locked in,” Santiago said. “It was like you made a good pitch and they blooped it or fouled it off. You made another good pitch and they got another hit. It was just their night. It was a good offensive day for them. It sucked for us.”
Tampa Bay’s offensive display rendered a late Sox rally moot, but the South Siders did manage to bring the tying run to the plate in the eighth inning. Rays reliever Kyle Farnsworth loaded the bases with one out, and Alexei Ramirez and Conor Gillaspie followed with RBI hits to chase him from the game. Joel Peralta issued a two-out walk to Danks, bringing in a run and making it an 8-4 game with the bases still loaded. But he got De Aza to strike out to end the uprising.
[More: Greene, Danks taking advantage of playing time with starters out]
In the end, the Sox weren’t focused much on the evening’s result, rather contemplating yet another big injury in the season’s first month. Ventura said, however, that the team just has to keep going.
“You don't have a choice. You just keep going,” Ventura said. “The games are on the schedule. You just find another guy and you keep it going. It's disappointing that guys you think you're going to have at a certain time are not going to be there, but you keep going. Hopefully we'll get a couple guys back pretty soon, but they don't stop the schedule. You just keep going.”