Moore, bullpen help Rays beat Astros 4-3 to complete sweep
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Thanks to Matt Moore, the Tampa Bay Rays are upbeat entering the All-Star break.
Moore got his first win since elbow surgery with help from the Tampa Bay bullpen and the Rays completed a three-game sweep by beating the Houston Astros 4-3 on Sunday.
''It feels good to leave the park knowing that we had a chance to win when I came out of the game,'' Moore said. ''Any time we can get a series sweep like this on the way into a break, it feels good for everybody in here.''
Tampa Bay had lost four in a row and 11 of 12 entering the series.
''Can't pick a better way to finish up leading into the break,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ''The guys were outstanding. We got knocked down and they got up and played really good baseball these three games against Houston.''
Moore (1-0) allowed three runs and five hits over five innings to get his first victory since Sept. 29, 2013 at Toronto. It was his third start after missing almost 15 months due to the surgery.
Rays relievers Brandon Gomes, Steve Geltz, Kevin Jepsen and Brad Boxberger, who pitched the ninth for his 23rd save, gave up a combined two hits over four scoreless innings.
Houston enters the break on a six-game losing streak. The Astros took over first place in the AL West on April 19, but started Sunday with just a half-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels, who were scheduled to play Seattle later Sunday.
''We can't let a miserable trip overshadow a really successful first half for us,'' Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. ''It's a sour taste going into the All-Star break, but there's no doubt that we're making progress.''
The Astros (49-42) go into the break with an over .500 record for the first time since 2005 (44-43).
Tampa Bay took a 4-3 lead in the fifth when John Jaso walked with the bases loaded and Grady Sizemore had an RBI grounder off rookie Lance McCullers (4-3).
McCullers, who went to high school in nearby Tampa, gave up four runs, four hits, three walks and had 10 strikeouts over six innings in his first start against the Rays.
Jose Altuve put the Astros up 3-2 on a two-run homer in the fourth. It was his 500th hit since the start of the 2013 season, which is the most in the major leagues.
After Houston's Evan Gattis had a first-inning run-scoring grounder, the Rays went ahead 2-1 in the second when David DeJesus hit an RBI triple and later scored on a wild pitch.
Astros: Hinch said RHP Scott Feldman (right knee) will return after two minor league rehab starts and pitch Saturday against Texas. ... INF Jed Lowrie (right thumb) will work out three days during the All-Star break at the Astros' spring training complex in Kissimmee, Fla.
Rays: SS Asdrubal Cabrera (strained right hamstring) was placed on the 15-day DL. The Rays are hopeful he can return before the month ends ... LHP Drew Smyly (torn labrum) could throw batting practice Thursday.
Astros: RF L.J. Hoes was recalled from Triple-A Fresno and had two hits. ... RHP Dan Straily was optioned to Fresno.
Rays: INF Tim Beckham was recalled from Triple-A Durham to take Cabrera's roster spot.
WHAT GOES UP ALWAYS COMES DOWN?
Houston's Colby Rasmus hit a foul ball in the first inning that got stuck on an overhanging catwalk. Rays third baseman Evan Longoria watched from underneath and gestured with his arms for the ball to drop. ... Gattis had a foul ball in the third inning strike a cable above the first-base seats and ended up back on the field.
Astros: Altuve will start at second base for the AL in Tuesday night's All-Star game. LHP Dallas Keuchel is also on the AL squad, while Hinch will be a coach.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer and Boxberger are on the AL roster for Tuesday night's All-Star game.