Tampa Bay Rays Rookie Matt Moore Crushes Texas Rangers in ALDS
The adorable 22-year-old rookie left-hander, who joined the Tampa Bay Rays just three weeks ago, had the game of his life Friday night in just his second big league start ever. Tossing two-hit ball, he struck out six Texas Rangers and walked two.
No pitcher in the history of the game had ever started a postseason opener with just one career start under his belt until Moore took the hill at Rangers Ballpark less than 24 hours after being informed he was pitching in the playoffs. Eight days earlier, he fanned eleven New York Yankees over five scoreless innings and surrendered just four hits and a walk... pretty impressive to say the least. Moore had this to say post-game:
"They didn’t give me a whole lot of time to get nervous and to think about it a lot. I didn’t want to be out of it before I was in it… I tried to be as normal, as normal and as calm as possible. And it was just a matter of getting comfortable, and there on it was throwing strikes."
Johnny Damon went yard off C.J. Wilson in the second inning to give Tampa a two-run lead before Kelly Shoppach hit a three-run bomb in the third and added a two-run shot in the fifth to pad the lead. Damon then collected an RBI single in the top of the ninth to complete the 9-0 victory.
The Rays will attempt to take a 2-0 lead when they face lefty Derek Holland in the best-of-five series Saturday evening at 6pm ET. They'll look to right-hander James Shields, who has allowed just one run over 17 innings in two victories over the Rangers this season.