Moreland's work on defense paying off

Moreland's work on defense paying off

ARLINGTON -- Mitch Moreland stole the show with his glove in Tuesday's 1-0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, twice making phenomenal plays to help preserve the shutout.

In the fourth inning, he shuffled left to backhand a hard-hit ball by Jose Lobaton and made a strong throw to start an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.

"He caught it off the bat," manager Ron Washington said. "To do what he did, he read it off the bat all the way. Some balls, the ball is already put in play before you react. He reacted to it totally off the bat."

Moreland also made a slick stop in the eighth inning to keep the Rays off the scoreboard.

Those two plays showed just how much Moreland has improved defensively at first base since last season.

"I think he's come [180] degrees, because he's quicker on his feet, his reactions are better, and that's something he worked on in Spring Training, trying to be quick laterally," Washington said. "That was his weakness, going laterally."