Moore stays unbeaten; Victorino back in lineup

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – As good as Matt Moore has been, the Tampa Bay Rays believe he can be even better.

The 23-year-old lefty pitched six strong innings and beat the Boston Red Sox 5-3 Tuesday to remain undefeated and claim a share of the major-league lead in victories.

“It’s pretty incredible,” manager Joe Maddon said after Moore (7-0) yielded a double to Dustin Pedroia and a three-run homer to David Ortiz in the first, then limited the struggling Red Sox to one hit over the next five innings.

Boston right fielder Shane Victorino, a St. Anthony High School alumnus, went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, two days after going to the hospital after crashing hard into the outfield wall at Fenway Park.

Moore, who’s in his second full season in the majors, walked two and struck out eight. He also tied the Washington Nationals’ Jordan Zimmerman for the major-league lead in wins, became the first Rays starter to begin a season 7-0 and tied a club record by winning his eighth straight decision dating to September.

“The first inning wasn’t as heartbreaking as you would think it would be just because of the way we’ve been swinging the bats,” Moore said. “It’s one of those things where you have faith in our team and what our offense is going to do.”

The Rays overcame the early deficit with a five-run fourth off John Lackey (1-4). Jose Molina and Matt Joyce each drove in two runs in the inning, helping Tampa Bay extend its winning streak to a season-high six games.

Boston has lost six of seven. The Red Sox dropped to 4-9 in May after going a major league-best 18-8 in April.

“We’ve seen the past couple years when we was in a funk, it’s pretty much everybody,” Ortiz said. “It’s like when we’re playing well, everybody is performing well at the same time. Kind of strange.”

Relievers Jake McGee, Josh Lueke and Joel Peralta got the Rays to the ninth, and closer Fernando Rodney struck out the side to finish the combined three-hitter.