On Monday night, the Rays gave Evan Longoria his first day off since his return from the DL. But great pitching to go along with one big inning on offense gave the Rays’ their 7th consecutive win since Longoria’s return and kept them atop the AL Wild Card standings with their 4-1 series-opening win over the Seattle Mariners.
The Rays broke through against Mariners starter Blake Beavan in the 3rd inning. With 1 out, Sam Fuld singled and stole a base before Desmond Jennings singled him in. Fuld made something happen with the stolen base to set up the run. And then B.J. Upton got the Rays a couple more runs in a louder way. Upton followed with a 2-run home run, his 13th of the season, to give the Rays a 3-0 lead. After Matthew Joyce singled, Ben Zobrist followed with an RBI double to give the Rays a 4-0 lead. That would be all the runs the Rays would get in the game, with Beavan allowing only those 4 runs in 6 innings, allowing 8 hits and striking out 4 while walking none. But Alex Cobb made the lead hold up.
Cobb was perfect through 2 and worked around a hit each in the 3rd and 4th before finally getting into trouble in the 5th. Trayvon Robinson tripled to begin the inning before Eric Thames singled him home to make it a 4-1 game. Jose Molina then helped bail Cobb out, picking Thames off of first base, and after walking Chone Figgens, Cobb got back into a groove with a pair of groundouts to get out of the inning and allowed just a walk between the 6th and 7th inning to close out his start. Cobb went 7 innings allowing just 1 run on 4 hits, striking out 5 while walking 2. He threw just 92 pitches, 59 strikes, and his groundout to flyout ratio was an incredible 11-1. Cobb was in control just about the entire game and delivered a start of 7 innings while allowing just 1 run for his third consecutive outing.
Joel Peralta struck out the side in the 8th, and Fernando Rodney worked around a Kyle Seager single to record the save in the 9th as the Rays won 4-1. Cobb (7-8) earned the win, Beavan (7-7) took the loss, and Rodney nailed down his 37th save. it was a nice win by the Rays as they stayed in a rhythm and continued their run as the AL Wild Card leaders and their pursuit of the Yankees in the AL East. Matt Moore opposes Kevin Millwood as the Rays continue their series with the Mariners at 10:10 PM EST on Tuesday night.