BALTIMORE (AP) - The Baltimore Orioles became the first team this season to score against Tampa Bay left-hander Matt Moore, a feat that did little to make them feel any better about an otherwise dreary loss to their AL East rivals.
Adam Jones' two-run homer accounted for all of Baltimore's offense in a 6-2 defeat Wednesday night. The Orioles managed only five hits, two after the third inning.
Moore (3-0) gave up two runs, five hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings. Although his streak of scoreless starts ended at two, the Rays left-hander struck out seven and kept the Orioles off balance for much of the night.
``He's not a prospect no more. He's good for a reason,' Jones said.
Moore has a 1.00 ERA over 18 innings. He is 3-0 and the rest of the staff is 2-9.
``Obviously, he has good velocity, and his walks were down from his previous starts that we had seen,' said Baltimore outfielder Nate McLouth, who went 0 for 3. ``He was able to get leadoff hitters out for the most part and keep guys from getting on base early. He made some breaking pitches for strikes, and I think he threw some pretty effective changeups to righties, too.'
Baltimore starter Chris Tillman (0-1) allowed four runs and six hits in four innings to fall to 1-4 against Tampa Bay.
Kelly Johnson and Shelley Duncan homered, and James Loney had three RBIs for the Rays, who snapped a four-game skid.
After going 1 for 34 with runners in scoring position in their previous five games, Tampa Bay went 4 for 11 in those situations, including a two-run double in the fourth by Loney that put the Rays ahead for good.
Loney went 3 for 3 to raise his batting average from .167 to .242. Johnson (2 for 5) went from .200 to .229, and Duncan got two hits to boost his average 44 points to .258.
With all that offense and Moore on the mound, the Orioles barely had a chance.
``We've had a little trouble keeping the ball in the ballpark with people on base, and some solos,' manager Buck Showalter lamented. ``You're facing a guy like Moore, you know runs are going to be at a premium. It's a tough thing. He's one of those guys who can miss the sweet part of the bat with a fastball and I think a lot of people miss how much of a pitcher he is. He's got multiple pitches.'
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon missed a portion of his team's first win in a week. He was ejected in the fifth inning by umpire Brian Knight, who called Johnson out on a stolen base attempt. Maddon argued that Johnson beat the tag.
Johnson put the Rays up 1-0 with a first-inning shot into the right-field seats, his second homer in two games. In the bottom half, Moore struck out Chris Davis with two outs and runners on the corners.
Duncan connected in the second for a 2-0 lead. Both his home runs this season have come against Baltimore.
Jones tied it with a two-run homer in the third. The drive was initially called a double, but Showalter insisted the ball went over the wall and bounced back into play. The umpires adjourned to watch a replay before confirming Showalter's assessment.
Tampa Bay got a pair of clutch hits in the fourth. After Evan Longoria led off with a double, Duncan looped a one-out single to center. As the throw from Jones came home, Duncan continued to second base. Loney followed with a sinking liner that got by Jones, allowing two runs to score.
In the sixth, Yunel Escobar hit a two-out RBI single for a 5-2 lead. The hit ended a 1-for-28 skid and was Escobar's first hit with a runner in scoring position in 15 tries this season.
Escobar was dropped to the No. 9 spot in the lineup, but Maddon insisted it had nothing to do with his .089 batting average. The manager said before the game that Escobar was ``just a couple hits' from breaking the slump and ``can do a lot of things' at the bottom of the order.
Loney added an RBI single in the eighth.
NOTES: Rays OF-DH Luke Scott (right calf strain) expressed hope of starting his rehab assignment this weekend, but Maddon said Scott is not that close to being ready. ... Cy Young Award winner David Price (0-1, 5.82 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season Wednesday night for Tampa Bay in the series finale. The Rays were winless in his previous three starts. Miguel Gonzalez (1-1, 2.82) will start for Baltimore. ... Maddon has been ejected a franchise-record 28 times. ... Nolan Reimold went 0 for 4 as the Orioles' designated hitter. Baltimore DHs are 3 for 47 (.064) this season.
The Associated Press News Service
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