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Matt Moore Dominates Rangers in Playoff Debut

Matt Moore
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Moore delivers to the Texas Rangers during the sixth inning of Game 1 in baseball’s American League division series playoffs Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Matt Moore
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Matt Moore delivers to the Texas Rangers during the sixth inning of Game 1 in baseball's American League division series playoffs Friday, Sept. 30, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon went with a rookie to start Friday’s night’s Game 1 against the Texas Rangers, an unconventional move that worked out—just like everything else has for the Rays in September.

So the Rays bottled up all that September momentum during the month and it led to a 9-0 victory in Texas—where an a heralded rookie named Matt Moore threw seven innings of two hit ball to give the Rays a 1-0 ALDS lead.

Thrust into the biggest start of his life, Moore dominated the Rangers and caught the attention of the rest of the baseball world, much like his teammates did during the latter part of the season.

“They didn’t give me a whole lot of time to get nervous and to think about it a lot,” Moore said, according to the Associated Press. “I didn’t want to be out of it before I was in it. … I tried to be as normal, as normal and as calm as possible. And it was just a matter of getting comfortable, and there on it was throwing strikes.”

Normal, calm, comfortable—the youngster should spread that message around the majors.

Moore only had one big league start before the pressure-filled game in front of 50,498 people at Rangers Ballpark. It came against the Yankees on Sept. 22 at the Stadium. The lefthander struck out 11 Yankees over five innings and gave up four hits. Just like Friday night, Moore didn’t allow a run on his way to his first win of the season.

Moore impressed the Rays while in Double-A and Triple-A this season. He posted a combined 12-3 record and had 55 more strikeouts than innings pitched (210 strikeouts, 155 innings). The 22-year-old rookie had a 1.92 ERA during that time.

Born June 18, 1989 in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Moore became the first pitcher to take the hill in a postseason opener with one previous start in the big leagues.

He was drafted by the Rays in the 8th round of the 2007 MLB Draft.

-With Associated Press

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