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LAA@TB: Moore fans six over 5 2/3 solid innings

Before the Mariners opened a four-game set against Tampa Bay, manager Eric Wedge raved about the Rays' pitching. After Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson lived up to Wedge's praise in the series opener Monday, Matt Moore will try to do the same Tuesday.

"Their starting pitching may be as good as we've seen it, if you look at some of the kids they're throwing out there, the bullpen and how they work in with that," Wedge said before the series. "You've got different types on the mound, too, which is always a luxury.

"It's a good challenge for us, as a young team coming in here early in the year on the back end of a road trip. I'm looking forward to watching us play."

Moore enters the game winless in four starts but believes he had his best outing last time on the mound, when he lasted 5 2/3 innings and gave up five hits and three runs, two of which were earned.

"It was nice to have a curveball for once, where I knew I was going to be able to throw it in the zone and bounce it when I want to," Moore said. "My fastball, I was able to command it a little better and get ahead of guys."

The Mariners will counter with Hector Noesi. The 25-year-old right-hander has been rather erratic this season, sporting a 1-2 record with an 8.83 ERA. Noesi went 4 1/3 innings of no-hit ball in his last start, but exited the game after five innings, giving up four runs on five hits.

Mariners: Saunders hitting his groove
• Outfielder Michael Saunders is hitting 11-of-35 (.314) in his last nine games. He is hitting .254 after sporting a .161 average through the first 12 games.

• After out-hitting the Rays, 11-10, in Monday's 3-2 loss, the Mariners dropped to 8-2 this season when out-hitting their opponent.

Rays: Matsui signs Minor League contract
• The Rays announced Monday that they signed veteran Hideki Matsui to a Minor League contract. The 37-year-old outfielder/designated hitter will report to extended spring training on Wednesday.

"Over the past two decades, Hideki has been one of the most consistently productive hitters in the world," said Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. "We are happy to add his ability, approach and professionalism to our organization."

Worth noting
• After Monday's 3-2 win over the Mariners in 12 innings, the Rays have won four straight at Tropicana Field over Seattle, a stretch that dates to Aug. 19-21 of last season.

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