Florida-born lefty Matt Moore makes the first start of his second full season in the big leagues Friday when the Tampa Bay Rays host the Cleveland Indians in the opener of a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
Moore, an eighth-round pick of Tampa Bay in 2007, reached the majors with hoopla at the end of 2011, splitting a pair decisions in three starts and striking out 15 batters in 9 1/3 innings.
He became a full-time member of the rotation in 2012 and was 11-11 in 31 starts with a 3.81 earned run average in 177 1/3 innings and 175 strikeouts.
Moore's ERA for the back half of the season was significantly lower than in the first half, however, which has Rays fans hoping he'll be a viable No. 2 option behind reigning American League Cy Young Award winner David Price.
Moore has split two starts against the Indians while allowing seven runs on eight hits in 9 2/3 innings, with six strikeouts and 10 walks, though Cleveland batters have hit just .229 against him.
For the Indians, 25-year-old righty Zach McAllister faces the Rays for the third time in his 27th big-league start.
The Illinois native, drafted by the New York Yankees in 2006 and acquired by the Indians in a 2010 trade for Austin Kearns, was 0-1 in four starts for Cleveland in 2011 before going 6-8 in 22 starts last season.
He permitted an opposition batting average of .268 across 125 1/3 innings while allowing 133 hits and striking out 110 batters.
Against Tampa Bay, he's 1-0 with a microscopic 0.77 ERA in 11 2/3 innings, allowing a single earned run with 13 strikeouts.
On Thursday in Toronto, six players connected for seven home runs as the Blue Jays held off the Indians, 10-8.
Carlos Santana and Mark Reynolds both hit solo shots and had two RBI for the Indians. Lonnie Chisenhall also knocked in a pair of runs in defeat.
Brett Myers (0-1) allowed seven runs and four of Toronto's homers in five-plus innings.
"Couldn't get the ball down tonight," said Myers. "I was fighting myself to get it down and just couldn't make the adjustment to get it down. The only person at fault here is me and I was working my tail off trying to get it down and just couldn't do it, couldn't execute it."
In St. Petersburg, Chris Davis hit a two-run homer and knocked in four runs, helping the Baltimore Orioles beat the Rays, 6-3, in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Evan Longoria, Jose Molina and James Loney had an RBI apiece for the Rays, who saw starter Roberto Hernandez (0-1) give up four runs on six hits over 6 2/3 innings. The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona, Hernandez fanned seven and walked two.
"It's just unbelievable," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Davis' success in the series. "You throw anything up there and he's going to hit it hard somewhere. I've never quite seen him like that."
The Indians split eight games with the Rays in 2012, including four at Tropicana Field.