Matt Moore has received plenty of run support this season, and Saturday the Tampa Bay left-hander aims to move to 9-0 when the Rays resume their three-game series against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field.
Moore, 23, will try to become the second-youngest left-hander since 1916 to start a season 9-0 exclusively as a starter. The only other southpaw to do it at a younger age was Ken Holtzman of the Chicago Cubs, at age 21, in 1967. Moore, who would become the fifth-youngest starter overall since 1916 to go 9-0, also tries to extend his club-record winning streak to 10 consecutive decisions.
The Rays have been able to give Moore plenty of offense to work with. He's received 6.7 runs per nine innings, which is among the top 10 in the majors. Moore's .172 opponents' batting average is the lowest in the American League.
During his career, Moore is 3-2 with a 3.99 ERA in five starts against the Yankees. That includes a win April 22 this year when he threw eight innings in a 5-1 win opposite CC Sabathia, who gave up five first-inning runs.
Facing the Yankees today will surely be tough for Moore, considering New York has done exceptionally well against left-handed starters. The Yankees are 10-4 against southpaw starters this season, the best such winning percentage in the majors. They've won seven of their last eight games when opposed by a lefty starter.
Vidal Nuno counters for the Yankees as the 25-year-old left-hander makes his fourth career appearance and second start. He gave up a leadoff homer to Nate McLouth in the 10th inning of a 3-2 loss at Baltimore on Tuesday.
Nuno's only start came May 13 at Cleveland when he limited the Indians to three hits in five scoreless frames.
Last night, David Phelps pitched into the eighth inning and Brett Gardner clubbed a two-run homer, as the Yankees earned a 9-4 win.
Phelps (3-2) was charged with six hits and four runs over 7 2/3 innings, but the right-hander was forced to leave the game after being drilled on his right forearm by a line drive off the bat of Ben Zobrist.
"His location was excellent. He changed speeds really well. It was a good performance by him and our offense came to life tonight," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson suffered a fractured knuckle on his left pinkie after getting by a pitch in the fifth inning. Granderson stayed in the game and scored on a walk to Jayson Nix, but then was replaced in the field by Ichiro Suzuki in the bottom of the frame.
The injury is expected to sideline the outfielder for at least the next four weeks. Granderson was playing in just his eighth game of the season after opening the campaign on the disabled list with a fractured right forearm.
"It is what it is. It kind of happened," Granderson said. "I can't change it right now. (I've) just got to move forward, continue to get back to work again. Another bump in the road, but that's it, just a bump. We'll come back, heal up and be back ready."
Lyle Overbay and Nix each drove in two runs, as the AL East leaders avoided their first three-game skid of the season.
Roberto Hernandez (2-5) gave up six hits and five runs over four innings in Tampa Bay's third consecutive home defeat.
"I thought we had some really good at-bats and hit some balls really well, but we have to do a better job pitching," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
The teams have split four meetings this season.