This. game got off to an awful start for the Rays as Alex Cobb allowed 2 first inning runs before leaving in the second with a leg injury. After the first 2 innings, though, things brightened up quite a bit thanks to outstanding relief pitching, but the Rays couldn’t muster enough offense as they fell 2-1 to the Mariners to even their series at a game apiece.
The Mariners struck in the first inning despite having 2 outs and nobody on because Cobb walked 2 sandwiched around a single before a Michael Saunders 2-run base hit gavet he Mariners a quick 2-0 lead. Never fun to trail, but a scarier moment happened in the second inning with 2 outs and a man on htird. Ichiro hit a hard groundball that deflected off of Cobb’s right leg. Cobb got up and fired home to nab the runner, but he had to leave the game. Good news is that Cobb simply has a bruise on the leg, with x-rays being negative, and that Cobb hopes to make his next start. But in this game, the Rays bullpen was faced with quite a task, needing to toss the final 7 innings of the game (praying that there wouldn’t be an extra-inning affair like the 14 inning thriller on Friday). Joe Maddon went to lefty Cesar Ramos, called up from Triple-A Durham before the game.
Ramos was unbelievable and as good as the Rays possibly could have hoped, going 4 shutout innings allowing just 2 hits, striking out 6 while walking none. He and Cobb combined to allow just 2 runs in 6 innings. But unfortunately on the other end, Jason Vargas was great for the Mariners. The Rays finally scored in the 7th, but only on an aberrant error by Ichiro Suzuki to make it a 2-1 game. Vargas went 6+ innings allowing just an unearned run on 7 hits, striking out 5 while walking 3 for the M’s. Burke Badenhop, Joel Peralta, and Wade Davis tossed the final 3 innings scoreless for the Rays, with Peralta striking out the side in the 8th, but the Seattle bullpen did the same as the Mariners won 2-1. Vargas (10-7) was the winner, Cobb (4-7) took a tough loss, and Tom Wilhelmsen saved his 9th game for the Mariners. The Rays managed just 1 run thanks to a 0 for 6 day with runners in scoring position, and despite great pitching following the tough first, the lack of offense proved to be the difference. The Rays hope to take the series versus Seattle on Sunday at 1:40 PM with Matt Moore matching up against Blake Beavan. The first two games of this series have been tight 1-run affairs, and hopefully we’re in for a finale that keeps us on our seats as well.