Tampa Bay Rays
Rested Cobb leads Rays over Tigers, 3-0
The scoreboard was wrong, Alex Cobb thought. It said Wednesday's game was in the sixth inning. Cobb felt like he had only pitched five innings.
So Cobb pointed out the mistake to Matt Moore after Cobb reached the Tampa Bay Rays dugout.
“No,” Moore said. “It's right. You're cruising. Keep going.”
And so Cobb did.
The right-hander, who hadn't pitched in 10 days because of a cut near the nail on his right middle finger and a little rotation juggling by the Rays, took care of a potent Detroit Tigers offense until his own offense finally solved Doug Fister in the ninth inning.
The result was a 3-0 victory at Comerica Park that clinched a winning road trip for the Rays, who play one more game this afternoon against the Tigers before returning to Tropicana Field on Friday for the start of a 10-game homestand.
“(Cobb) was outstanding,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “Detroit has such good hitters. To have bad swings against him like that tells you how good his stuff was and how much it was moving.”
Cobb went 72/3 innings. He allowed just five hits, struck out seven and walked three. Two of those walks were intentional passes to Miguel Cabrera, the American League's leading hitter.
Not bad for someone who lost track of the innings.
“That's a great sign,” Cobb said. “It's a bad sign when you think it's the seventh and it is only the fourth.”
There was nothing bad about Cobb's performance.
The Tigers entered the game with the highest batting average in baseball and a lineup that features Torii Hunter, Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta hitting 2-though-6 in the lineup.
“They're good all over the place,” Maddon said of Detroit's lineup.
Cobb limited those five to just a two-out single in the fourth inning by Fielder.
“The hitters will tell you how good his stuff is by how they hit the ball. I don't think they really had very hard contact all night,” Maddon said. “I don't remember any ball scalded against him.”
The Tigers mustered two threats against Cobb, one in the sixth and one in the eighth.
Both times, Cabrera came to bat with a runner on second and two outs, and both times Maddon had Cobb walk Cabrera.
That move brought Fielder to the plate.
Cobb struck out Fielder to end the sixth inning.
In the eighth, Maddon called for Joel Peralta, and Peralta struck out Fielder to end the inning.
“He really could have pitched deeper, but I felt emotionally he had reached his limit at that point,” Maddon said of why he pulled Cobb after 108 pitches.
The Rays scored all their runs in the ninth inning off Fister.
Sam Fuld, who started when Kelly Johnson was scratched because of back tightness, opened the inning by dragging a bunt up the first-base line and eluding Fielder's tag.
“I noticed Fielder was back a little bit, not way back, but I thought if I got it by Fister I had a chance,” Fuld said.
Ben Zobrist moved Fuld to third with a single, and Evan Longoria singled home Fuld.
Zobrist eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Matt Joyce, and Desmond Jennings' triple scored Longoria with the final run of the night.
Fernando Rodney made it interesting against his former team in the ninth by allowing a walk and a hit. But Rodney worked out of the jam to earn his 12th save.
When asked about Cobb's performance, Fuld said, “Awesome. He's in a groove. He's fun to watch. His tempo is so good. He's pumping the zone. Man, to shut out this lineup is pretty impressive.”
Cobb said the neither the layoff nor the finger injury were issues.
“I didn't want that unknown of not being out there to be in my head at all,” he said of the layoff. “I knew from playing catch (Tuesday) that my arm felt really good, and I knew if I could gather my stuff and stay in control it would be a good night because of how fresh my arm is.
“That layoff definitely helped.”