The 21-year-old left-hander, who was MLB.com's No. 27 preseason prospect, allowed three hits while striking out a season-high 11 batters over six scoreless frames in the Double-A Biscuits' 3-0 loss to the visiting Jacksonville Suns.
The Rays' eighth-round pick in the 2007 Draft led the Minor Leagues in strikeouts with 208 over 144 2/3 innings while playing for Class A Advanced Charlotte in 2010. He ranks second this season with 76 strikeouts in 52 2/3 frames, one K behind Asheville's Edwar Cabrera (who has pitched 56 innings).
After a rough start at Tennessee on April 13, when he allowed six runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 innings, Moore has been overwhelming Southern League hitters. In his last five starts, he has given up three earned runs on 14 hits over 28 1/3 innings. He's fanned 44 and walked 10 during the stretch, during which he is 1-1 with a 0.95 ERA while holding hitters to a .143 average.
On Thursday, Montgomery yielded a leadoff hit to Suns center fielder Kevin Mattison in the first inning. Mattison, who has 14 stolen bases this season, was immediately caught stealing, after which Montgomery retired 12 Suns in a row.
Jorge Padilla drew a one-out walk in the fifth and Paul Gran and Mattison reached on consecutive infield hits in the sixth, but all were left stranded. Moore did not allow a runner to reach third base and exited after throwing 90 pitches -- 63 for strikes. 10 of his 11 strikeout victims went down swinging.
Moore was matched -- on the scoreboard -- by Jacksonville starter Omar Poveda, who tossed seven shutout frames of his own.
Poveda, a 23-year-old right-hander from Venezuela, missed the entire 2010 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Thursday's outing was his longest and strongest since his operation. He allowed four hits while striking out three and walking one and threw an economical 84 pitches in seven innings.
Poveda, like Moore, faced the minimum through his first four innings after a first-frame walk was erased by a double play. Nevin Ashley got Montgomery's first hit with one out in the fifth, but Poveda was never seriously threatened. He also did not allow a runner past second base.
The Jacksonville bullpen proved stouter than that of the Biscuits. After a hitless seventh, the Suns jumped on Montgomery relievers Marquis Fleming and Paul Phillips for four singles and a pair of runs in the eighth.
Jorge Padilla added an insurance run with a solo blast off Phillips in the ninth.
Suns reliever Jhan Marinez made it interesting in the bottom of the ninth, walking the bases loaded with one out, but Sandy Rosario came on to fan the next two batters for his Southern League-leading 11th save.
Poveda improved to 2-3 with his first win since April 13.
Fleming fell to 1-2 for the Biscuits after allowing two runs on three hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings. Montgomery has lost four in a row and five of six after rattling off four straight wins last week.