The Rays achieved a run on no hits in the fourth when Johnny Damon drew a walk and on his steal attempt, the throw by catcher Josh Bard went into center field, allowing Damon to reach third. Ben Zobrist grounded out, scoring Damon to put the Rays on the board. Zobrist wouldn’t stop there though.
In the sixth, Sean Rodriguez drew a walk and Desmond Jennings and Damon both grounded out, moving Rodriguez to third. Zobrist singled, breaking up the no-hitter and driving in the tying run. Rays fans everywhere exhaled.
Unfortunately the tie didn’t last long. Cobb achieved a career high eighth strikeout against Brendan Ryan, but then Ackley doubled. Mike Carp sent him home with a base hit giving the Mariners a 3-2 lead they would not surrender.
Alex Cobb struck out nine before turning the ball over to J.P. Howell in the seventh. A double play ended the inning but the Rays offense would stay cold, even though Joel Peralta kept the Rays in the game with a terrific performance in the eighth.
This was a classic pitcher’s duel between Alex Cobb and Michael Pineda, which made things interesting and leads one to wonder, was it the Mariners pitching that kept the Rays down, or were their offensive woes just making another appearance? Ben Zobrist was the hero of the game and the only one to really perform. He started in the first, doing battle with Pineda, driving his pitch count up. If the Rays had been able to continue that effort, perhaps they could have driven Pineda out of the game earlier.
Of interest was the fact that Evan Longoria was batting fifth in the order. The move didn’t shake things up like it did when he batted lead off a few times, but with Desmond Jennings in the lineup, that move wasn’t an option. Longoria struck out to end the game, which probably did nothing to help his confidence.
Maybe the eight runs the Rays scored last night drained them for today’s game. The win yesterday sure felt like a good deal of hope that was only drained away today.