3/30/2013 4:40 P.M. ET
Moore solid as Rays knock three homers in spring finale
By Adam Berry / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays lefty Matt Moore and Tigers right-hander Doug Fister didn't put up dazzling Spring Training numbers, but Saturday, both could say that they went into the regular season on a relatively high note, as Tampa Bay tied Detroit, 3-3, in both teams' final spring game.
Making their last spring appearances, Moore logged four scoreless innings and Fister gave up two solo shots in six frames.
It looked like Moore's rocky, inefficient spring might have ended on a similar note after a 25-pitch first, but he quickly turned it around and needed only 29 pitches to get through his final three innings of work. Moore, who entered the game with a 4.67 ERA this spring, exited after four innings having allowed one hit and one walk while striking out five on 54 pitches, 37 of them for strikes.
"I feel like the tempo was quicker. I don't feel like it was speeding up on me. I felt like I was just going at a nice tempo that was easy to work at," Moore said. "Even the first inning, it was a tough at-bat to Austin Jackson and Torii Hunter coming up after that. I still wound up keeping Jackson on first base."
Fister, meanwhile, started the day with a 6.52 ERA in spring games, prompting a reporter to ask Tigers manager Jim Leyland before the game if Saturday was an important start for Fister. Leyland fired back that it wasn't nearly as important as Fister's next start, Detroit's home opener against the Yankees, but Fister pitched well either way, allowing seven hits and no walks on 96 pitches, 63 for strikes.
When Moore left, the Rays began a parade of one-inning appearances for several of their top relievers. Jamey Wright gave up a two-run homer to Brayan Pena with no outs in the fifth inning, breaking the scoreless tie. Wright allowed four homers over 11 innings in spring games despite allowing only two over 67 2/3 innings in 2012.
Tampa Bay got one back in the bottom of the fifth, when James Loney clubbed a line-drive solo homer, his first of the spring, to right field off Fister. They got the second back in the sixth, as Ryan Roberts hit a solo shot of his own, also off the Tigers' starter.
In the top of the seventh, the Tigers scored their third run on a triple from Pena and an RBI bunt single from Don Kelly. In the bottom of that inning, the Rays tied it up again on a Sean Rodriguez homer off Tigers' reliever Will Clinard.
Up next: Tampa Bay has two days off before its Opening Day matchup with Baltimore at Tropicana Field on Tuesday. The Rays will take Sunday off, work out Monday at the Trop then begin their three-game series against the Orioles at 3:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner David Price will start for Tampa Bay and face Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel.