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TB@HOU: Moore blanks Astros over seven sharp innings

Matt Moore has seemingly returned to form, spelling trouble for the White Sox on Saturday night at Tropicana Field.

After a rough three-game stretch that followed his red-hot start, Moore has recently looked much more like the ace that fronted the Rays rotation in April and May. He has notched three straight quality starts while fanning 24 batters in 19 1/3 innings.

The southpaw gave up only two hits and struck out nine in seven scoreless frames against the Astros during his most recent start on Monday.

"I think my last outing was how I would like a lot more outings to go," Moore said. "There was more to give that night, had it called for it. We had short innings. I had a lot more inefficient innings earlier in the year. I feel much better in my last few. I think we're in a good spot right now."

While Moore has looked better as of late, he is still aiming to sharpen his command. The southpaw has issued walks to three or more batters in five of his past six starts, including two instances of six.

"[I'm] just staying aggressive and attacking," Moore said. "Getting ahead early is big for me. When I do that, I can go to my other pitches and the game goes smoother."

The Rays, too, face a tall task in White Sox starter Chris Sale, who will toe the rubber opposite Moore in a battle of left-handers on Saturday night.

Sale is in the midst of a strong stretch, recording 10 quality starts in his past 12 outings. He leads American League pitchers with a 4.3 WAR, ranks third among AL starters with a 0.96 WHIP and fifth with a 2.79 ERA.

Although Sale, who fanned 15 over 7 1/3 innings in a start against Moore at Tropicana Field last season, has surrendered three or more runs in four of his past five starts, the southpaw has consistently kept Chicago close when on the mound this season.

"I wouldn't say it does very much for me," Moore said of facing Sale. "It doesn't get me more hyped up to pitch. It's a fun matchup. It was last year. He beat me 2-1. Hopefully, we can keep the game close like that. We'll see where it goes, but it's cool to go against him."

White Sox: Dunn providing premium power
With his walk-off home run in Thursday's 3-2 win against the Orioles, Adam Dunn upped his home-run tally to 23. He is on pace to club 45 homers this season.

Dunn has been hitting the ball all over the place since June 8, batting .321 (27-for-84) with 10 home runs, 26 RBIs and 17 runs scored. The hot streak has helped him raise his batting average from .163 to .205.

Dunn and teammate Paul Konerko are tied for 44th on the all-time home run list with 429 homers each.

Rays: Loney extends hitting streak to 16 games
James Loney extended his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games with a first-inning single during the Rays' 8-3 win against the White Sox on Friday night. He added another hit in the second and recorded an RBI with a bases-loaded walk in the fifth.

Loney is batting .406 (26-for-64) during his hitting streak, which tied Evan Longoria for the longest hitting streak by a Tampa Bay player this season.

Worth noting
• With an RBI double in the second inning on Friday, Rays rookie Wil Myers has hit safely in 15 of his first 18 MLB games.

• White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez played six innings of Friday night's game, ending his run as the only player in the Major Leagues who had played every inning this season. Since 2009, Ramirez leads all shortstops in games (700) and innings (6,181 2/3) played.

• Chicago's Gordon Beckham is batting .390 (16-for-41) in his past 10 games.

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