Catcher Kelly Shoppach drove in five runs with two homers and rookie Matt Moore threw seven scoreless innings as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Texas Rangers 9-0 in their American League Division Series. The New York Yankees- Detroit Tigers playoff game was suspended by rain.
Johnny Damon added a two-run home run and Moore held the Rangers to two hits last night for the Rays, who took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five first-round series. It was the second Major League Baseball start for the 22-year-old Moore, who was called up from the minors earlier this month.
“It is a good way to get your foot in the door,” said Shoppach, who recalled that he didn’t even know Moore’s first name when the rookie was promoted. “This is a huge stage. Very impressed by the way he handled himself.”
The Yankees’ game in New York against the Tigers in the other AL Division Series opener was suspended by rain last night with the score tied 1-1 after the top of the second inning.
The game at Yankee Stadium, delayed 1 hour, 17 minutes before it was suspended, will resume today at 8:37 p.m. with the Yankees coming to bat in the bottom of the second inning. Game 2 has been pushed back to tomorrow.
‘Hard to Predict’
“We knew it was going to rain, but we didn’t think it was going to rain this hard,” said Yankee manager Joe Girardi. “The weather is hard to predict around here. It’s been hard to predict all year long.”
The Rays made up a nine-game deficit to the Boston Red Sox in the wild-card chase in the final month of the regular season, and rallied from a 7-0 eighth-inning deficit to defeat the Yankees two days ago to clinch a playoff spot.
The Rangers, who lost in five games to the San Francisco Giants in last year’s World Series, defeated the Rays three games to two in the AL Division Series in 2010. Texas, which led the major leagues with a .283 team batting average this season, managed two hits -- a single and a double by Josh Hamilton -- against Moore and two Rays relievers.
Shoppach said he’d never caught Moore until pregame warmups.
“He’s got life on his fastball,” Shoppach said in a televised interview. “He throws off-speed stuff for strikes. We were talking about how nasty he was. He was getting some really bad swings off a really good offense. We were impressed with him.”
Moore said he only found out 24 hours earlier that he’d be starting, and didn’t have time to get nervous.
“I’m glad it was a day game, I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it,” he said. “I looked up in the fifth and saw it was 8-0. After that, it was just a matter of throwing strikes and getting out of the innings.”
Shoppach, who hit .176 during the regular season, hit a three-run homer in the third inning to put the Rays ahead 6-0 and added a two-run shot in the fifth.
“They keep throwing it where I’m swinging,” Shoppach said.
The National League playoffs begin today. The Philadelphia Phillies, who had the best record in the majors this season at 102-60, host the St. Louis Cardinals, who made up a 10 1/2-game deficit in the wild-card race to edge the Atlanta Braves by one game. The Arizona Diamondbacks travel to Milwaukee to start the other series.
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