Rays blank Red Sox to close in on AL East lead

RAPID ASCENT::The Tampa Bay Rays have lost just twice since June 28 and have improved from fourth place to move within half a game of top spot in the East


Wed, Jul 24, 2013 - Page 20


Matt Moore pitched a two-hitter for his first career shutout as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0 on Monday night to move within a half-game of first place in the American League East.

Ben Zobrist had three hits and James Loney drove in two runs for the Rays, who earned their sixth consecutive victory and won for the 18th time in 20 games.

In his first start since pitching a scoreless fifth inning in the All-Star game, Moore (14-3) gave up Mike Napoli’s single in the second and David Ortiz’s base-hit in the seventh. Ortiz took second on a wild pitch — the only baserunner to get past first.

Moore walked one batter, struck out four and needed just 109 pitches to win his sixth consecutive start.

The Rays have lost just twice since June 28, improving from fourth place and seven games out to within one win of the East Division lead.

Brandon Workman (0-1) made his second career start, giving up two runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out four in six innings.


In Seattle, Kendrys Morales and Mike Zunino each homered, while Aaron Harang pitched seven strong innings as Seattle beat Cleveland to win their season-high seventh straight victory.

Morales led off the fourth inning with a homer and Zunino did the same in the fifth off Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez, helping Seattle increase their league-leading total to 29 homers this month.

The seven-game streak is the longest for Seattle since winning eight straight in August last year.

Harang (5-8) gave up a solo homer in the first to Nick Swisher and danced around trouble for his second win in the past three starts. Tom Wilhelmsen survived the ninth for his 22nd save.


In Arlington, Texas, Yu Darvish allowed two singles over 6-1/3 scoreless innings in his first start in 16 days, combining with three relievers on a three-hitter that carried Texas past New York.

Darvish (9-4), who last pitched on July 6 before going on the disabled list with a right-trapezius strain, struck out four and walked two. He left after allowing consecutive batters to reach in the seventh, having thrown 60 of 90 pitches for strikes.

Ivan Nova (4-3) struck out four, while throwing a season-high 112 pitches over seven innings.

All-Star closer Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for his 31st save in 32 chances to cap the Rangers’ eighth shutout of the season.


In Chicago, Max Scherzer outpitched Chris Sale in a matchup of All-Star starters as Detroit overcame Miguel Cabrera’s injury to beat Chicago.

With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, Cabrera was replaced at third base by Don Kelly. Last year’s American League Most Valuable Player, who appeared to be holding his left side as he walked off the field, was removed with a sore hip-flexor muscle and was to be evaluated yesterday.

Cabrera began the day leading the American League with a .359 batting average and 96 RBIs.

Scherzer (14-1) went eight innings and allowed four hits, while striking out five.

Sale (6-9) pitched eight innings and gave up four runs — two earned. He yielded seven hits, while striking out 11.


In Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy each drove in three runs as Baltimore defeated Kansas City to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games.

Davis, who leads the majors with 97 RBIs, drove in a pair of runs with a sixth-inning double and another with a sacrifice fly in the first.

Hardy homered, his 17th of the season, in the four-run sixth with Davis aboard. He picked up another RBI in the third when Davis scored on his ground-out.

The Orioles’ 18-hit attack matched their season high.

Scott Feldman (2-1), who was acquired in a July 2 trade from the Chicago Cubs, was the beneficiary of the offense, picking up the victory.

Feldman limited the Royals to five singles and two runs over eight innings.

Wade Davis (4-9) took the loss, giving up four runs, two unearned, on seven hits and three walks in 2-2/3 innings.

Monday’s other results:

‧ Athletics 4, Astros 3

‧ Twins 4, Angels 3



A.J. Ellis hit a two-run homer and drove in a career-best five runs, while Ryu Hyun-jin pitched 5-1/3 innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Toronto Blue Jays 14-5 for their fourth straight victory and 21st in 26 games.

Skip Schumaker added a three-run shot as the Dodgers moved a season-high four games above .500 and won their eighth straight road game, their longest streak since a nine-game run in July 2004.

Ellis went deep in the second inning and had RBI singles in the third, sixth and seventh. He also reached on first baseman Adam Lind’s fielding error in the fourth.

Toronto made a season-high five errors and lost their fifth straight game. The Blue Jays have lost 12 of 16 overall.

Ryu (8-3) had gone 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 10 starts, before matching a season worst by giving up five runs in five innings in Arizona on July 10. He was better against the Blue Jays, allowing four runs and nine hits, all singles. Ryu walked two and struck out three.