Alex Cobb Strikes Out 12 In Dominating Outing Over Baltimore Orioles
ST. PETERSBURG, FL — After finishing up Friday’s game in the early hours of Saturday morning, nearly six hours after the first pitch, the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays were at it again Saturday afternoon at Tropicana Field for round two of this three-game series between AL East foes.
Alex Cobb turned in one of the day’s best pitching outings, tossing 8.1 inning of scoreless baseball before giving up a run with one-out in the 9th, handing the ball off to the bullpen to finish off the Orioles and close out a big 5-1 victory for the Rays.
“You can’t put into words how appreciative you are when you’re on the mound and these guys are playing after an 18-inning game,” Cobb said. “I was in bed sleeping while they were putting together a win, and then they come out with the same intensity for you the next day. It’s amazing.”
Cobb, who had a no-hitter through the first 4.1 innings, started off the game a little shaky on the mound, walking a two in a 20-pitch first inning.
He quickly settled in after the first, going on to retire the Orioles in order for the second, third and fourth inning, and recorded the first two outs in the 5th before giving up a single to Steve Clevenger to break up Cobb’s no-hitter.
[quote]”From the bullpen, I thought it was going to be one of those days where I struggle, where I have to compete to keep my team in it,” Cobb said. “Once I settled down and took a step back after the first inning, things started to fall into place.”[/quote]
Baltimore’s starter Miguel Gonzalez was also dealing with some command through throughout the day, and the Rays finally burned him in the bottom of the fifth inning when Desmond Jennings, with a pair of runners on base, launched a three-run home run off Gonzalez — his 14th of the season, a new career high — to put Tampa up 3-0.
Gonzalez was replaced by Francisco Rodriguez after six innings. His lack of control is what really hurt him, as he walked five; giving up three-runs on only two hits over 96 pitches.
[quote]”I put myself in a bad situation. You can’t be doing that, especially late in the game,” Gonzalez said. “I thought it was a good pitch, but you’ve just got to tip your hat.”[/quote]
K-Rod, who was acquired by the O’s to be a helpful piece in their bullpen, was very effective in the one inning of work he put in, as the Rays tagged him for two runs on four hits in the 7th, helping Tampa to extend their lead to 5-0.
The five runs were more than enough for Cobb, because after walking two in the first inning, he absolutely took over, striking out 12 O’s over 8.1 innings. The only Baltimore hitter that he didn’t strike out was leadoff man Nate McLouth.
Two outs away from a complete-game shutout, Chris Davis hit a high fly ball to deep left field that left fielder David DeJesus lost in the dome, falling in for a triple for David. Then the next hitter, Adam Jones, singled to right field to break up the shutout.
Rays manager Joe Maddon decided that’s where he would call it a day on Cobb, having tossed 117 pitches, giving up just the one run on five hits for his 10th win of the season. Cobb left to a standing ovation by the announced crowd of 23,835 – which included me.
Maddon brought in his closer Fernando Rodney with a four-run lead to get Nick Markakis to ground out to the shortstop, then getting JJ Hardy to groundout to third base to end the game, giving up the Rays their second win over the Orioles in a span of 14 hours.
[quote]”We’re in a Wild Card chase. We’re trying to get into the playoffs,” Cobb said. “I don’t think anybody in this clubhouse needs added motivation for that. It’s nice getting on a roll and playing good, and that’s kind of what happens after these outings.”[/quote]
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