Matt Moore eyes his sixth win of the season on Wednesday when the Tampa Bay Rays continue their four-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.
Moore won his first five starts and allowed just four runs in doing so, but did not get a decision on Friday and had his worst outing of the season. The Colorado Rockies reached the 23-year-old lefty for four runs and seven hits in just five innings of the Rays' 7-4 win. Moore also walked four batters and saw his ERA rise to 1.95.
"I put myself in a situation where I really had to grind and battle to get out of there when I never should have -- I can't walk the pitcher when he's trying to give me an out," Moore said.
Moore has faced the Blue Jays four times and is 1-1 against them with a 3.26 ERA.
Toronto, meanwhile, will hand the ball to lefty Ricky Romero, who fell apart in the fourth inning in his first start on Friday against Seattle. Romero cruised through the first three innings in that one, but gave up three runs, hit a batter, walked three more and threw a wild pitch. He would not return for a fifth frame.
"I felt like the guy I've been working on this past month in Florida. I felt good, had some good stuff. Had a lot of live movement on the fastball," Romero said. "That fourth inning just got away from me a little bit."
Romero, of course, was an All-Star for the Jays in 2011, but last year lost 14 games and did not break camp with the big league club this spring, as the team opted for him to work on his mechanics with Class A Dunedin.
"I thought he was great. I really did," manager John Gibbons said. "He ran into some trouble there in the last inning, with some walks and he hit the guy, but overall I think he should feel good about that [outing]. It's something to build off of, because the beginning of the game I thought he was dynamite."
Toronto has won the first two games of this set, but after Tuesday's 6-4 triumph nobody seemed all that excited that the Jays would not be losing an 18th consecutive series in St. Petersburg.
Instead all thoughts were with Toronto left-hander J.A. Happ, who was taken off the field by stretcher after taking a line drive from Desmond Jennings off the side of his head. He remained conscious and was brought straight to the hospital.
"Unfortunately, that's part of the game," said Toronto reliever Brad Lincoln, who took over for Happ on the mound. "Stuff happens like that. Thoughts and prayers go out to him, but you've still got to go out there and compete and play the game."
Forced to dig into its bullpen early, four Toronto relievers combined for 7 2/3 scoreless innings, with Steve Delabar (3-1) tossing two innings of one-hit ball. Casey Janssen worked a perfect ninth to notch his ninth save.
Colby Rasmus hit a two-run homer, Adam Lind went 2-for-4 with a solo shot and two runs scored, while Jose Bautista and Melky Cabrera each plated a run to help Toronto earn back-to-back victories at Tropicana Field for the first time in almost five years.
Joel Peralta (0-2) was tagged with the loss for the Rays, who blew a seven-run lead in an 8-7 loss to the Jays on Monday. The Tampa Bay bullpen spoiled a solid start from Roberto Hernandez, who tossed six innings of one-run ball and struck out seven.
"It's a bad stretch for almost everyone in the bullpen right now," Peralta said. "We're probably trying too hard. And sometimes the harder you try, the worse it goes."
Tampa dominated its season series with the Jays a year ago, taking 14 of the 18 matchups.