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Rays try to end slump, avoid sweep in Seattle

9:28 AM, Sep 8, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - Matt Moore will make his second start since coming off the disabled list Sunday for the Tampa Bay Rays in the finale of a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

The Rays could use a strong outing from Moore in order to avoid a three-game sweep and their fourth straight loss.

Moore was sidelined with elbow soreness and the left-hander allowed one unearned run in 5 1/3 innings of a 7-1 win at the LA Angels on Tuesday. It was his first appearance since July 28 and Moore is 7-0 with a 2.06 earned run average in his last eight starts. The Rays are 7-1 in that time.

The southpaw is 15-3 overall in 22 starts with a 3.27 ERA and 8-1 in 12 road assignments. In three career starts against Seattle, Moore owns a 1-1 mark to go along with a 1.80 ERA, spanning 20 innings.

Countering for the Mariners Sunday will be Erasmo Ramirez.

Ramirez is 5-1 with a 5.07 ERA in 10 games (9 starts) this season and did not record a decision in Tuesday's 4-3 loss at Kansas City, where he gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander has faced the Rays twice in his career (1 start) and sports a 1-0 mark with a 6.00 ERA.

Tampa Bay struggled against James Paxton in his major league debut in Saturday's 6-2 loss and the left-hander allowed two runs -- one earned -- in six innings for the win. Four reliever kept the Rays off the board.

"These guys have obviously had a lot of publicity the past couple of years, along with a few other guys, and I think the upside to that is you learn how to handle it at the minor league level and you're more prepared to defend yourself when you get up here and handle it appropriately," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of the touted Paxton.

Rays starter Chris Archer surrendered three runs -- two earned -- on four hits and a walk over four frames for the Rays, who have dropped three in a row and 11 of their last 14 games. Tampa Bay, which got a two-run homer from Evan Longoria, is 2-7 on a 10-game trek and sits one game ahead of both Baltimore and Cleveland for the final wild card spot.

"We're just unable to get the hit when you need to," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I know we gave up six runs, but sometimes you've got to score seven, you've got to score eight. We're still unable to really put an offense together."

The Rays will host Boston for three games this week and sit 8 1/2 games behind the Red Sox for the AL East lead.

Justin Smoak homered and Kendrys Morales went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBI for the Mariners, who have won three of four and six of the last 10 games.

The Mariners will start a three-game set versus Houston on Monday.

Tampa Bay recently took two of three matchups with Seattle from Aug. 13-15 at Tropicana Field.

The Sports Network

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