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Surging Rays ride Joyce past M's

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- With Evan Longoria expected to be sidelined for up to two months, Matt Joyce may be heating up at the right time for the surging Tampa Bay Rays.

A first-time All-Star a year ago when he led the major leagues in hitting as late as early June, Joyce delivered a solo home run and RBI triple to pace a 3-1 victory against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night.

Joyce had two of Tampa Bay's three hits while batting in Longoria's customary No. 3 hole for the first time this season. Earlier in the day, Longoria was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a partially torn left hamstring.

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"Longo has some big shoes to fill," Joyce said. "I think the guys realize that we have to pick it up. ... Injuries are part of the game. Guys go through slumps and you have to pick each other up. That's what a good team does"

Rookie Matt Moore (1-1) scattered seven hits over five innings to get the victory, which is the ninth in 10 games for the AL East-leading Rays.

Michael Saunders had a solo homer and Jesus Montero went 4 for 4 for Seattle, however the Mariners went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position to lose for the fourth straight time following a season-best four-game winning streak.

Joyce tripled off Mariners starter Hector Noesi (1-3), then scored on Luke Scott's sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead in the first. Joyce's team-leading sixth home run of the season made it 3-1 in the third.

"I feel very comfortable hitting in the middle of the order," said the left-handed hitting Joyce, who figures to get more opportunities to bat third against right-handed pitching. He's batting .346 (18 for 52) over his last 16 games and has 10 extra-base hits in his past 11 games.

Burke Badenhop and Joel Peralta combined for three scoreless innings out of Tampa Bay's bullpen. Fernando Rodney struck out the side in the ninth to earn his eighth save in eight opportunities.

"The bullpen was spectacular," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

The Rays learned before the game that Longoria, a three-time All-Star batting .329 with four home runs and 19 RBI, will be out four to eight weeks after being hurt attempting to steal second base on Monday.

A bit of good news for Tampa Bay was Moore finally got his first victory of the season. The hard-throwing 22-year-old left-hander, who started and won the team's postseason opener against Texas last October, walked one and struck out seven in the shortest of his five starts this year.

Saunders connected off Moore in the third. Seattle threatened in the fourth and fifth against the Rays starter, and again in the eighth when Montero doubled off Joel Peralta, but the Mariners failed to get a runner past second in each situation.

Noesi allowed three runs and three hits in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander, acquired along with Montero in an offseason trade that sent pitcher Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees, walked three and struck out one.

The Mariners outhit the Rays 9-3. They had 11 hits in a 3-2, 12-inning loss in the series opener on Monday.

"To be a consistent offensive club, we have to finish innings off," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "We're just not doing that."

Notes

  • Seattle RF Ichiro Suzuki singled off Moore in the fifth inning to tie Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith on the career hit list with 2,460.
  • To fill Longoria's spot on the roster, the Rays purchased the contract of INF Will Rhymes from Triple-A Durham. To make room on the 40-man roster, RHP Kyle Farnsworth was transferred from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.
  • Tampa Bay prospect Tim Beckham, the overall No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft, was suspended 50 games after a second violation of the minor league drug program.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Matt Joyce, celebrating his solo home run here, collects two of the Rays' three hits in the win. (Getty Images)
Matt Joyce, celebrating his solo home run here, collects two of the Rays' three hits in the win. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

M. Joyce
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Seattle

J. Montero
AB 4
R 0
H 4
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Seattle Mariners
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Dustin Ackley, DH4000011 .238
Alex Liddi, 3B4010021 .286
Ichiro Suzuki, RF4020001 .302
Justin Smoak, 1B4000023 .190
Jesus Montero, C4040000 .294
Kyle Seager, 2B4010003 .276
Casper Wells, LF3000023 .240
   a- Munenori Kawasaki, PH1000010 .200
Michael Saunders, CF4111023 .253
Brendan Ryan, SS2000110 .131
   b- Mike Carp, PH1000010 .000
Totals35191112  
a-struck out for Wells in the 9th
b-struck out for Ryan in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ichiro Suzuki (5, Moore), Jesus Montero (2, Peralta)
HR - Michael Saunders (4, Moore)
RBI - Michael Saunders (12)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Ryan-Seager-Smoak
PB - Jesus Montero (2)
Seattle Mariners
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Hector Noesi (L,1-3) 5.2333311 7.83
Lucas Luetge0000100 0.00
Steve Delabar 1.2000020 4.97
Charlie Furbush 0.2000010 6.75
Pitches-Strikes - Hector Noesi 85-46, Lucas Luetge 5-1, Steve Delabar 16-12, Charlie Furbush 11-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Hector Noesi 9-6, Steve Delabar 1-2
Batters Faced - Hector Noesi 22, Lucas Luetge 1, Steve Delabar 5, Charlie Furbush 2
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Desmond Jennings, LF4010010 .266
Ben Zobrist, 2B3100101 .198
Matt Joyce, RF4222010 .306
Carlos Pena, 1B1000200 .282
Luke Scott, DH1001100 .262
B.J. Upton, CF3000013 .353
Elliot Johnson, 3B3000010 .160
Chris Gimenez, C3000000 .250
Sean Rodriguez, SS3000000 .182
Totals2533344  
Batting
3B - Matt Joyce (3, Noesi)
HR - Matt Joyce (6, Noesi)
SF - Luke Scott (1)
RBI - Matt Joyce 2 (11), Luke Scott (18)
2-OUT RBI - Matt Joyce (3)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - S. Rodriguez-Zobrist-Pena
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Matt Moore (W,1-1) 5711171 4.20
Burke Badenhop (H,1) 2100010 6.00
Joel Peralta (H,6) 1100010 6.52
Fernando Rodney (S,8) 1000030 0.79
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Moore 101-66, Burke Badenhop 24-13, Joel Peralta 14-11, Fernando Rodney 14-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Moore 1-6, Burke Badenhop 3-2, Joel Peralta 1-1
Batters Faced - Matt Moore 22, Burke Badenhop 7, Joel Peralta 4, Fernando Rodney 3
Game Information
Attendance - 9972
Game Time - 2:37
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Ron Kulpa, First Base - Jim Wolf, Second Base - Derryl Cousins, Third Base - Al Porter