Red-hot right-hander Matt Moore can get a fifth straight victory on Thursday afternoon when the Tampa Bay Rays host the Minnesota Twins in the finale of a four-game series at Tropicana Field.
An eighth-round pick of the then-Devil Rays in 2007, Moore reached the majors in 2011 and was 1-0 in three games, then became a full-time starter and went 11-11 in 31 starts while posting a 3.81 earned run average across 177 1/3 innings.
He began this year with eight straight victories, then lost three straight outings between June 4 - June 14 to fall to 8-3. He's since won four straight, beginning with an 8-3 defeat of the New York Yankees in the Bronx on June 20.
Moore has allowed just one run in his last three starts and none in his past two, during which he's beaten Houston and the Chicago White Sox while allowing seven hits and striking out 15 batters in 13 1/3 innings.
He's made one career start against the Twins while allowing three runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings.
For Minnesota, former first-round pick Mike Pelfrey starts for the 16th time since arriving in the American League via an offseason free agent deal.
Pelfrey was 3-6 in his initial starts with the Twins through May 31, but has since gone four starts without a defeat, allowing 10 runs in 25 2/3 innings, including a 6-0 defeat of the Toronto Blue Jays on July 6.
Pelfrey got a no-decision in one career meeting with the Rays after giving up four runs in five innings of work.
He's 2-3 in seven road starts this season and has gone 23-31 away from home in his career while posting a 5.33 earned run average, more than a run and a half higher than his 3.79 career ERA in 91 home appearances.
On Wednesday, Ben Zobrist provided the game-winning single in the bottom of the 13th inning as the Rays extended their win streak to seven games with a 4-3 decision.
A throwing error by Ryan Pressly (2-1) on a pickoff attempt put the go-ahead run in scoring position. Luke Scott then worked a walk to bring up Zobrist, who sliced a base hit into right.
The Rays have won the first three of this four-game set, leaving the Twins with their sixth straight road series loss as well as their 10th defeat in 11 games.
Cesar Ramos (2-2) was the last of six bullpen pitchers used by the Rays, with the lefty recording the last two outs in top of the 13th to strand runners at the corners.
Jeremy Hellickson scattered three runs on six hits over six innings while striking out eight to lead a Rays staff that fanned 19 for the contest.
"The pitching has been fantastic," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "One walk, 19 strikeouts, that's pretty good."
Besides five walks, Kevin Correia was pitching well for the Twins until he gave up Kelly Johnson's sixth inning two-run homer, which knotted the game at 3-3. He struck out six and was charged with all three runs on five hits over 5 1/3 frames.
Pedro Florimon hit a two-run homer, Clete Thomas knocked in a run and Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit each had three hits for Minnesota, which left five runners on base in extra innings.
"We missed so many opportunities to drive in a run as they did and that's the way those games normally go," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
The Rays won five of six games with the Twins in 2012 and have won the season series in each of the last three years. The teams split evenly in 2008 and 2009, and Minnesota hasn't won a season series with Tampa Bay since 2006.