ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago White Sox, along with their ace left-handers, are heading in opposite directions as the All-Star break approaches.
The Rays came out on top in a pitchers’ duel between Matt Moore and Chicago’s Chris Sale on Saturday night with a 3-0 victory.
Moore (12-3) scattered five hits in 6 1/3 innings en route to his fourth consecutive victory. He had six strikeouts, walked two and hit a batter to help the Rays win for the seventh time in their last eight games and move a season-best eight games above .500.
Sale (5-8), who was named to the American League All-Star team before the game, allowed all three runs (two earned) in seven innings as the White Sox lost for the eighth time in their last 10 games. Sale has lost six in a row primarily through dismal offensive support from his teammates.
Tampa Bay are in the midst of playing 16 of their final 20 games before the All-Star break at home. The Rays are 9-3 so far.
The White Sox, who have won only four of their last 22 on the road, have only one home game remaining — a makeup date with the Cubs on Monday — before the Midsummer Classic on July 16.
The White Sox squandered several early opportunities to score against Rays starter Matt Moore.
Chicago threatened in the second inning when Jeff Keppinger led off with a double. Moore then struck out Conor Gillaspie and Dayan Viciedo before Gordon Beckham reached on an infield single, moving Keppinger to third. The left-hander escaped the jam by erasing Tyler Flowers on an infield popup.
Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead in its half of the second. Yunel Escobar led off with a single and moved up when Jose Lobaton reached on an error by Gillaspie at third base. Luke Scott followed with an RBI double and Lobaton came home with an unearned run on a fielder’s choice.
Moore worked into and out of trouble again in the third. He hit leadoff batter Alejandro De Aza with a pitch and walked Alexei Ramirez. The runners advanced on a wild pitch to Alex Rios, who lined out to Evan Longoria. The third baseman then dived to the bag after the catch just ahead of De Aza for a double play. Adam Dunn flied to deep left for the third out.
NOTES: Relief pitcher Jesse Crain also was named to represent the White Sox on the All-Star team, but he is on the disabled list with a shoulder strain. Rays utility player Ben Zobrist was named to the team. … Rays 1B James Loney, who extended his hitting streak to a career-best 16 games with two singles on Friday, was not in the starting lineup. He began the day tied for the longest active hitting streak in the AL with Indians 2B Jason Kipnis, who went 0-for-4 in a loss to the Detroit Tigers. … Saturday was Turn Back the Clock Night at Tropicana Field in a tribute to the 1970s. The Rays didn’t come along until 1998, so they wore a uniform similar to the style worn by the 1979 Padres. The White Sox showed up in the red pinstriped look of their 1972 team.