ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As good as Matt Moore has been, the Tampa Bay Rays believe he can be even better.
The 23-year-old lefty pitched six strong innings and beat the Boston Red Sox 5-3 Tuesday night to remain undefeated and claim a share of the major league lead in victories.
“It’s pretty incredible,” manager Joe Maddon said after Moore (7-0) yielded a double to Dustin Pedroia and a three-run homer to David Ortiz in the first, then limited the struggling Red Sox to one hit over the next five innings.
Moore, who’s in his second full season in the majors, walked two and struck out eight. He also tied Washington’s Jordan Zimmerman for the major league lead in victories, became the first Tampa Bay starter to begin a season 7-0 and tied a club record by winning his eighth straight decision dating to September.
“The first inning wasn’t as heartbreaking as you would think it would be just because of the way we’ve been swinging the bats,” Moore said.
“It’s one of those things where you have faith in our team and what our offense is going to do,” he added, “and as long as I put up zeroes and leave their lead at three, we’re going to make it interesting down the road.”
The Rays overcame the early deficit with a five-run fourth off John Lackey (1-4).
Jose Molina and Matt Joyce each drove in two runs in the inning, helping Tampa Bay extend its winning streak to a season-high six games.