Published January 13, 2015
Matt Moore fired five scoreless innings, David DeJesus and James Loney each knocked in two runs, and the Tampa Bay Rays moved one step closer to sewing up a playoff berth by producing a 7-0 victory over the fading New York Yankees.
Matt Joyce added a solo home run and Evan Longoria went 2-for-4 with an RBI to help the Rays to a fifth straight win, which reduced their magic number for earning a playoff spot to four. Tampa Bay remained one game ahead of Cleveland for the AL's top wild card.
Moore (16-4) worked around six walks and three wild pitches to hold down a Yankee lineup which finished 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position in a setback that all but ended the Bronx Bombers' postseason hopes.
"You cannot be more effectively wild than he was tonight," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of Moore.
New York now trails the Indians, who rallied to defeat the White Sox Tuesday, by five games with five to play for the second wild card.
"This is not a good feeling,"Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of his team's playoff hopes.
Hiroki Kuroda (11-13) was saddled with the defeat, his sixth straight losing decision, after allowing five runs in 5 2/3 innings.
Kuroda was in a 1-0 hole just three pitches in after Joyce clobbered a hanging slider into the seats, and the Rays had a two-run edge before he recorded an out when Wil Myers followed with a single and DeJesus ripped a double down the right-field line to bring his teammate home.
DeJesus moved to third on the throw to the plate and came around on Longoria's sacrifice fly to stake Tampa Bay to a quick 3-0 advantage.
Kuroda settled down afterward, retiring 15 of the next 16 Tampa hitters after DeJesus' double in the opening inning. That stretch ended when Myers drew a walk to begin the sixth and was soon on third after Longoria socked a ground- rule double to left with one out.
After Ben Zobrist was intentionally walked to load the bases, Loney laced a liner into the gap in right center to bring in two more runs and increase the Rays' lead to 5-0.
The Yankees, on the other hand, continually failed to come up with the big hit despite Moore giving them a number of opportunities.
He issued five walks over the first three innings, including ones to Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano that loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the third. Moore got of the jam, however, by getting Mark Reynolds to fly out to shallow right in front of Eduardo Nunez's threat-ending force out.
New York stranded two more baserunners in each of the next two innings and had 10 total over the game's initial five frames.
Tampa Bay tacked on its final two runs in the ninth, with DeJesus and Delmon Young each delivering RBI doubles off reliever Shawn Kelley.
Jake Odorizzi worked the last three innings to finish off the four-hit shutout and register his first career save.
Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar exited the game in the fifth inning due to a sore left ankle, while catcher Jose Lobaton was removed in the sixth with a bruised elbow ... Moore improved to 9-1 in 15 road starts this year, of which the Rays have prevailed in 13 of those games ... Kuroda's eight-start winless drought is tied for the longest in his career, matching a stretch with the Dodgers from Apr. 9-May 16, 2008, and he fell to 1-9 with a 5.85 ERA over his last 12 meetings with AL East foes ... Joyce has homered three times in 14 lifetime at-bats against Kuroda ... Moore's three wild pitches extended his AL-leading season total to 17.