By Drew Davison
ARLINGTON – C.J. Wilson had come through in big moments all season for the Texas Rangers. Matt Moore had made only one big league start for the Tampa Bay Rays.
The advantage in Game 1 of the American League Division Series seemed to heavily favor the Rangers. None of that mattered, though. Moore pitched like a savvy veteran, Kelly Shoppach found his power stroke and the Rays cruised to a 9-0 victory over Wilson and the Rangers on Friday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark.
The Rays lead the best-of-five ALDS 1-0, and will send right-hander James Shields to the mound for Game 2 on Saturday. The Rangers will counter with left-hander Derek Holland.
Wilson started off the game with a crisp nine-pitch, 1-2-3 first inning. In the second, though, he hit Ben Zobrist with a pitch to start the inning. Johnny Damon then roped a two-run homer to the right-field seats.
Shoppach, the White Settlement Brewer product who hit .176 in the regular season, singled to left. Wilson retired the next two batters, but gave up an RBI single to Matt Joyce as the Rays took a 3-0 lead.
Tampa Bay made it 6-0 in the third. Evan Longoria had a one-out single, Zobrist bunted his way on and then Shoppach belted a three-run blast to straightaway center field.
Shoppach wasn’t done yet. He put the game out of reach with a two-out, two-run homer in the fifth – after Damon had reached on a throwing error by Adrian Beltre – as Tampa Bay took a commanding 8-0 lead.
The Rays added another run on an infield single by Damon in the ninth.
Wilson went five innings, allowing eight runs (six earned) on seven hits with one walk and six strikeouts. The eight runs matched the most he’s allowed in his career. He gave up eight runs, all earned, on Aug. 5, 2005 against Baltimore, his eighth career game.
Texas couldn’t dig itself out of that type of deficit, especially against Moore.
The Rangers had their leadoff man reach in the fourth and sixth inning. Josh Hamilton doubled in the fourth, but didn’t get further than that. Elvis Andrus drew a walk in the sixth, but Moore retired the next three batters.
Moore threw seven scoreless innings, allowing two hits (both to Hamilton) with one walk and six strikeouts. The Rays’ bullpen closed it out with two scoreless innings by Brandon Gomes and Wade Davis.