Matt Moore still isn't quite there, but despite losing his third consecutive start, and making his seventh start without a win this season, he looks to be getting closer.
"Confidence is a big thing," manager Joe Maddon said. "I know he's going to sleep better. In spite of the loss, at least he's going to feel better about himself."
Moore went six innings Thursday in the Rays' 5-3 loss to Boston.
The first three didn't go so well, as he allowed single runs in each and used 68 pitches, including 27 with two strikes.
However, Moore (1-4, 5.20 ERA) retired nine straight over the next three innings, throwing only 38 pitches. He looked much more like the dominating pitcher he was last year, when he came up in September and went 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA in three games (one start).
"Obviously from the team standpoint, this isn't a victory," Moore said, "but for myself and my individual performance, I was somewhat satisfied with the fourth, fifth and sixth innings."
--OF Rich Thompson, acquired from Philadelphia on Wednesday, made the first major league start of his 13-year pro career, and he made it worthwhile. He picked up his first hit, RBI and two stolen bases. "It was great," said Thompson, who went 1-for-3. "You never know how long it's going to be, or if it'll ever come, so it was certainly nice to get it out of the way in the first start." He had one previous at-bat in the majors, during the 2004 season with Kansas City, when he grounded into a double play.
--INF Will Rhymes felt better than he thought he would the day after passing out on the field a few moments after being hit on the right forearm by a pitch. "The arm actually feels pretty good, surprisingly. I took all the wraps off expecting to see something out of a horror movie, but it wasn't that bad," he said. Rhymes expects to return to action as soon as Friday.
--RHP Alex Cobb or RHP Chris Archer will be announced on Friday as the starter for Saturday's game against Atlanta, taking the place of injured RHP Jeff Niemann. Cobb has more experience, as he started nine games for the Rays last year. Archer, who has been pitching better at Class AAA, would be making his big-league debut. Archer, 23, is 3-4 with a 4.71 ERA in eight starts for Durham. Cobb, 24, is 1-4 with a 4.14 ERA in eight starts for Durham.
--3B Evan Longoria, sidelined since tearing his left hamstring April 30, fielded ground balls Thursday afternoon, one day after taking batting practice. "I'm progressing well," he said. His original timetable was to return in mid- to late June.
--INF Elliot Johnson's career-high hitting streak ended at eight games when he went 0-for-3.
--INF/OF Brandon Allen went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout Thursday in his first rehab game for Class A Charlotte (Port Charlotte, Fla.). He landed on the 15-day disabled list May 10 due to a strained right quadriceps.
--Senior adviser Don Zimmer made his first appearance at Tropicana Field since opening weekend, having been hospitalized three times due to kidney issues. He is now undergoing dialysis treatments three times a week. "I'm here," said Zimmer, 81. "That's the most important thing."
BY THE NUMBERS: 8 years, 24 days -- Gap between major league games for OF Rich Thompson.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Obviously, it's swollen. I look kind of jacked, so this could be a good thing." -- INF Will Rhymes, speaking about his bruised right forearm.