BALTIMORE -- Left-hander Jake McGee earned praise following Monday night's win when manager Joe Maddon said, "Tonight was all about Jake."
McGee entered the game in the seventh with two on and two out and escaped the jam. He then pitched a scoreless eighth through the heart of the Orioles' order, ending with swinging strikeouts of Adam Jones and Matt Wieters.
McGee needed just one pitch to get out of the seventh, retiring Brian Roberts on a groundout to shortstop.
"That helped a lot," McGee said. "I threw a fastball, and he went after it. It was a ball, but he hit it on the ground. It was down and away, but I knew he was going to be looking for a first pitch. I didn't want him to get anything up that he could hit the other way."
McGee's turning point this season came on May 10. Prior to that he had an 11.25 ERA, and opposing hitters were hitting .339. Since then he has a 1.70 ERA and .165 batting average against.
He attributes the difference to location "and making pitches in big situations. Earlier in the year, when I had runners on, I didn't make a good pitch in the situation and gave up multiple runs. Since then I've made my pitches when I've needed to make my pitches. And I know if I miss it's going to be OK, instead of knowing I have to make a pitch where I want it."
McGee has typically been a slow starter throughout his career.
"Even when I was a starter, I'd start slow, then from June to the end of the season, every year in the Minor Leagues, get stronger," he said.
He said that his success stems from a fastball mentality.
"I feel like if I put it in the right location, it's going to be hard to hit," he said. "It's almost like having a couple of different pitches if I throw it up or down, or in. They'll have to guard both sides of the plate instead of just looking for my fastball down the middle of the plate."
Moore excited about his progress
BALTIMORE -- Left-hander Matt Moore (sore left elbow) played catch with David Price in left field early Tuesday afternoon at Camden Yards, and he continues to be excited about the way he's feeling.
"It went really well, just like [on Monday]," Moore said. "Great game of catch, very clean. ... The progress we've made over the last four or five days has been significant, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I threw everything today. I threw changeups and curveballs, and it was fine."
Moore said that Tuesday was the first time he's thrown a changeup since his last start, on July 28 at Yankee Stadium.
"That's big," he said. "Was it in a game, throwing it off a mound against Robby Cano? No, but at the same time, having that clean arm stroke with the ball coming out the way it needs to ... [Price] reassured me that everything with the arm angle and the way that it was coming out looks exactly the same as it always does. I think the heater right now, my arm feels really fresh."
Moore is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, followed by a simulated game on Saturday.
"It's that time of year where if my bullpen goes great tomorrow, my sim game goes great, maybe we throw a light bullpen and try to make the [Angels series beginning Aug. 27 at Tropicana Field], and if not, the West Coast trip," he said. "If we're talking about one or two days at the end of all of this, I don't think we're going to do anything that's going to sacrifice all that time."
Manager Joe Maddon said there are a "whole lot of different" scenarios, and noted, "Let's just do the sim game and determine [the course of action] after that."
Homers give Longoria place in Rays' history books
BALTIMORE -- Evan Longoria homered in the first inning of Monday night's game against the Orioles, giving him 25 for the season as well as the fourth 25-homer season of his career.
"Home runs are obviously a nice statistic. I love hitting home runs," Longoria said. "But whether I feel like I have a successful season or not, it's still not going to be a successful season if we don't live up to the expectations of the team."
Longoria is now tied with Carlos Pena for the club record for the most seasons with 25 or more home runs. Aubrey Huff and Fred McGriff (two each) are the only other Rays with more than one such campaign.
Although Longoria is not one to dwell on his accomplishments, he did allow that he could appreciate the consistency of reaching 25 home runs in four of his first six Major League seasons.
"It's easier to say [I appreciate reaching the plateau] now because I'm feeling a lot more comfortable at the plate," he said. "If this had happened a month ago, I'd be like, 'I'm at 25, but I don't feel good.' That's why you have to keep swinging. And you know you've got to believe in what you're doing. Twenty-five is a solid number, 30 is better, and hopefully, I can get there by the end of the season. It's a much cooler number to look at at the end of the year."
Maddon weighs in on Dempster incident
BALTIMORE -- Manager Joe Maddon is on Joe Girardi's side in regard to the New York skipper's response after Boston's Ryan Dempster plunked Alex Rodriguez on Sunday night.
"I thought he handled everything well," Maddon said.
As for Dempster?
"Vigilante justice and unilateral decisions, I'm not into that stuff," Maddon said. "That is totally separate from the unwritten rules of baseball. I did not agree with that at all. Again, I don't believe in rogue, unilateral decisions or players handing out discipline."
Maddon was reminded how the White Sox elected to bean Delmon Young after he was promoted to the Major Leagues in the aftermath of some unfortunate comments he made in a USA Today story.
"I thought the same thing when the White Sox thought it was important that they discipline Delmon," Maddon said.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.