St. Petersburg, FL – Matt Moore turned in another outstanding start, Ryan Roberts went 3-for-4 with a pair of solo home runs, and the resurgent Tampa Bay Rays took the opener of a three-game series with the New York Yankees with a 5-1 victory at Tropicana Field.
Moore (4-0) became the first pitcher in Rays history to win his first four starts of the season after limiting the Yankees to just a pair of hits -- both coming from Robinson Cano -- and three walks while fanning nine over eight stellar innings. The talented young lefty has now yielded just 10 hits through 26 frames while pitching to a 1.04 earned run average on the year.
Yunel Escobar added a two-run homer and Sean Rodriguez contributed an RBI triple to Tampa Bay's fourth straight win, during which the Rays have outscored the opposition by a 22-5 margin.
All three homers came off CC Sabathia (3-2), who allowed four runs in the bottom of the first and five overall over seven innings of work to fall to 3-9 in 19 starts against the Rays since joining the Yankees in 2009.
"It was a bad day," Sabathia said.
Cano's fourth-inning homer accounted for the lone scoring in New York's 12th loss in its last 14 visits to Tropicana Field.
While Moore sailed through the Yankee lineup over the first three innings, Sabathia had his fate sealed with a rough go of it in the bottom of the first.
His early struggles began by hanging a slider to Roberts on an 0-2 count that the Tampa second baseman belted over the left-center field wall. Evan Longoria singled two batters later before Rodriguez drove a pitch into the gap in right center and hustled his way to third while driving in the second run of the inning.
Escobar followed with his second homer in as many games, an opposite-field blast that staked the Rays to a quick 4-0 lead.
Moore, on the other hand, set down 10 straight hitters after issuing a leadoff walk to Brett Gardner in the top of the first until Cano crushed a curveball deep into the right field seats to get the Yankees on the board in the third.
Roberts restored the Rays' four-run advantage an inning later, however, with a line-drive homer to left on a 3-1 pitch.
New York's only other threat against Moore came in the sixth, when Gardner walked to begin the frame and raced to third on Cano's one-out single. Moore then beared down and struck out Vernon Wells before getting Francisco Cervelli to fly out and end the Yankees' half of the inning.
Moore then retired the side in order in both the seventh and eighth, with Kyle Farnsworth closing out the win with a 1-2-3 ninth.
"I felt just as good, if not even better, in the seventh and eighth inning than I did in the first and second," Moore said.
Moore is the first AL hurler age 23 or younger to win his initial four starts of the season since the Angels' Jered Weaver did so in 2006 ... New York's Kevin Youkilis sat out for a second straight day due to pain in his back ... Roberts' multi-homer effort was the third of his career, with the other two coming during his tenure with Arizona ... Longoria extended his hitting streak to nine games and has now reached base safely in all 19 of the Rays' contests this season ... The Yankees have now homered in each of their nine road tilts this season, their longest stretch to begin a year since 2000 ... All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, acquired by the NFL's Buccaneers from the New York Jets on Sunday, threw out the game's first pitch.