Matt Joyce belted a pair of home runs to back a terrific rebound start from Matt Moore as the surging Tampa Bay Rays continued their postseason push with a 10-4 rout of the slumping Chicago White Sox Saturday at U.S. Cellular Field.
The win, Tampa Bay's ninth in its last 10 contests, kept the club three games back of Oakland for one of the American League's two wild card berths with four remaining. The Athletics rallied for a 7-4, 10-inning win over Seattle on Saturday.
Chicago, meanwhile, fell for the ninth time in its past 11 bouts and dropped to two games behind first-place Detroit in the AL Central race after the Tigers defeated Minnesota on Saturday.
Moore (11-11) yielded just one hit and two walks over 5 1/3 shutout innings to end a six-start winless drought. The rookie left-hander had gone 0-4 with a 5.72 earned run average over that stretch and hadn't lasted more than four innings in any of his last three starts.
"I just think he attacked better, attacked the strike zone better," Maddon said of Moore. "He had a couple of moments that got away from him, but for the most part, attacked the strike zone better. Pitched with his fastball mostly from what I could tell. Was pretty efficient too, got relatively effient outs."
Joyce had a solo homer in the seventh inning and a three-run shot in the eighth to help Tampa Bay also trim its deficit to four games in the AL East after the division-leading New York Yankees were dealt a 3-2 loss in Toronto earlier in the day.
Jeff Keppinger added a two-run blast off Chicago starter Chris Sale and Chris Gimenez went 2-for-3 with a solo homer in contributing to Tampa Bay's 13-hit attack.
Sale (17-8) was tagged for five runs and seven hits while issuing three walks over just 3 1/3 innings in his shortest start of the season. The 17-game winner, who did strike out seven before exiting, had been 8-0 with a 1.45 ERA in his last 10 home starts.
"That was a disgrace," Sale said afterward. "For [White Sox manager Robin Ventura] to say that was terrible was probably putting that lightly. I did nothing to help the team win, put guys in positions that they shouldn't have been in."
Orlando Hudson accounted for the White Sox' scoring with a pinch-hit grand slam in the bottom of the eighth, one of only four Chicago hits on the day.
After stranding four runners over the first two innings, the Rays broke out with a three-run third to open the scoring.
B.J. Upton began the frame with a walk and Ben Zobrist followed with a double into the left-field corner for a 1-0 Tampa lead. Two batters later, Keppinger launched Sale's full-count offering into the seats to extend the margin to three.
The Rays poured it on in the fifth, with Sean Rodriguez and Gimenez reaching base on a walk and single, respectively, before Upton laced a one-out base hit to chase Sale and plate Rodriguez. Evan Longoria later added an RBI single that scored Gimenez and further lengthened the Tampa Bay lead.
Gimenez made it 6-0 with his first home run of the season, a solo blast off reliever Duente Heath in the sixth, and Joyce connected against Dylan Axelrod one inning later for his first homer since Sept. 1.
Joyce pushed the lead to 10-0 by taking Leyson Septimo's pitch over the wall in right center in the eighth. Zobrist, who had reached on an error, and Longoria, who drew a walk, both came home on the play.
Chicago finally ended the shutout bid in the bottom of the inning, with Rays reliever Chris Archer walking two batters around a Ray Olmedo single before serving up Hudson's slam.
Moore retired the first 13 White Sox hitters until Alex Rios singled with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Rios collected two of Chicago's four hits for the game.
Sale had not lost at U.S. Cellular Field since May 12 against Kansas City ... The Rays had scored only 10 runs total in their first five games against Chicago this season, four of which were White Sox wins ... Gimenez's homer was his first in the majors since Sept. 25, 2011 at Texas, while then a member of Seattle .... White Sox center fielder Alejandro De Aza was scratched from the starting lineup due to flu-like symptoms .... Zobrist ended 2-for-4 with two runs scored and is hitting .379 (22-for-58) over his last 16 games.