Matt Moore started the only game the Tampa Bay Rays have won since May 24, and getting deeper into a game allowed him to end the club's six-game losing streak with him on the mound.
The struggling Rays need him again Thursday night as they begin a four-game set in Minnesota, where the Twins have been plenty beatable this season.
Moore (2-3, 5.31 ERA) was far from brilliant in Saturday's 9-5 home win over the New York Yankees, giving up three runs and eight hits with three walks in 6 2/3 innings. It was, however, the first time he'd gone beyond five innings in his last five starts.
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"I liked my mindset heading into it," Moore told MLB's official website. "I found out what pitches were coming out good, and I kind of stayed with that as opposed to just forcing them out."
He drew his manager's praises after a four-start span in which the left-hander had gone 0-1 with an 8.53 ERA.
"Moore provided a really good start that obviously we've been missing a little bit," Kevin Cash said. "It was great to see him get through that first inning, which had the makings of getting a little tricky. ... It's a little easier to get some runs when you get the support they did."
Moore is 1-0 with a 3.24 ERA in three starts against the Twins, though he hasn't faced them since 2013. Joe Mauer is 2 for 4 against him, but Oswaldo Arcia is 0 for 5 with three strikeouts.
Minnesota counters with Kyle Gibson, who is making his first start since April 22 because of a strained right shoulder. Gibson (0-3, 6.10) turned in an 0.96 ERA in two rehab starts, though that came with Single-A Advanced Fort Myers.
Phil Hughes is going to the bullpen rather than Pat Dean or Ricky Nolasco.
"We all knew that Kyle's return was pending, and we had a decision here over the last couple of days following Dean's performance on Friday and determining in the short term that we want to keep Pat in there," manager Paul Molitor said. "Kyle, we feel, is ready to help us. We have a five-man rotation, not six, so we had to make a decision."
The right-hander is winless this season and winless against the Rays, suffering the loss in all four of his starts in the series with an 8.85 ERA. Brad Miller is 5 for 11 against him and Evan Longoria is 4 for 10.
The Twins (15-37) were just swept in Oakland, and returning home for a 10-game homestand is unlikely to provide any refuge. They're 5-18 at Target Field with losses in 11 of their last 13 and four straight series defeats.
The Twins won two of three in both series last season, but the Rays are 16-6 in Minnesota since the start of 2010.
Tampa Bay (22-29) was also swept to start the week in three games in Kansas City and has lost four straight and 10 of 12. Wednesday's 6-3 loss concluded a series in which the Rays' staff posted a 7.50 ERA with a .375 opponent batting average.