Anaheim, CA – Matt Moore may have come back just in time for the reeling Tampa Bay Rays.
Making his first start in more than a month, Moore fired 5 1/3 innings of one- run ball in the Rays' 7-1 triumph over the LA Angels of Anaheim in the second test of a four-game set.
Moore (15-3), who hadn't started since July 28 due to elbow soreness, fanned six and surrendered an unearned run on four hits and four walks to pick up the win.
"It didn't feel foreign out there," Moore said. "I was happy with the result and making it through the fifth inning."
The 24-year-old flamethrowing southpaw had won six consecutive starts and limited his opponents to seven runs over 42 innings prior to his trip to the disabled list.
Roberto Hernandez tossed 3 2/3 perfect frames and struck out seven to notch his first career save.
Desmond Jennings and Yunel Escobar smacked solo homers, while Ben Zobrist added a two-run double for the Rays, who moved 2 1/2 games ahead of the New York Yankees and three in front of the Baltimore Orioles for the AL's second wild-card spot.
Tampa Bay, which had managed just 19 runs during a 1-8 stretch coming in, banged out 15 hits.
Jason Vargas (8-6) allowed five runs on 10 hits and two walks over four-plus innings for the Angels, who had their five-game winning streak snapped.
"He made good pitches early, but then left some over the middle and they took advantage," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Vargas.
With the tilt tied 1-1 after the second, the Rays plated a run in the third, two in the fourth, and a run in each of the fifth, sixth and seventh innings to surge ahead.
Jennings led off the third with a homer to center before Zobrist ripped a two- run double down the left field line in the fourth. Jose Lobaton's RBI single in the fifth and Escobar's blast to start the sixth increased the margin to 6-1. Wil Myers, who doubled to begin the seventh, later scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-1.
Evan Longoria, who was 4-for-35 during the Rays' 1-8 stretch, tallied two hits ... The Rays were 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position, while the Angels finished 0-for-5 with RISP.