Alex Cobb dominated over 8 1/3 innings pitched, and Fernando Rodney held on for a somewhat shaky save as the Rays defeated the Yankees to win the series 2 games to 1. Cobb struck out 7 batters and allowed only 3 hits as he pitched into the ninth. He walked only one batter, and showed excellent command over his pitches all night. The Rays’ offense was keyed by Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez who would provide just enough production for the Rays to snag the victory over their AL East rivals.
The first four and a half innings were a total pitchers’ duel, with Alex Cobb and Andy Pettitte matching each other pitch for pitch. Pettitte was getting more strikeouts, but Cobb was keeping his pitch count down and keeping runners off the basepaths.
Pettitte showed signs of a higher pitch count in the fifth, when he would start off the inning by hitting Jose Molina in the foot. This would be followed up by a Kelly Johnson single to right which would slip under the glove of Brennan Boesch and roll further toward the wall. But with Molina as the lead runner, the error did not score a run, but rather left runners at second and third with no outs.
This hasn’t been a great scenario for the Rays so far this season, and Desmond Jennings and Ryan Roberts would prove why, quickly tallying two strikeouts and killing the chances for scoring on an out. That brought up Ben Zobrist with two out, and he doubles to right-centerfield, scoring both runners.
That 2-0 lead would turn into a 3-0 lead when Sean Rodriguez hit one out over the farthest fence from homeplate, barely clearing the extended fence just to the left of straight-away center. This would be the first batter of Pettitte’s final inning, as the veteran hurler would finish with 6 innings of 7 hit baseball with 3 runs, 2 of them earned. He walked 1, struck out 10, and had only 68 strikes over 105 pitches.
Cobb would continue to deal, ending the eighth inning with 99 pitches, not allowing a runner to pass second base all night. He would start off the ninth with an out, and then give up a single on a seeing eye grounder, and give way to Fernando Rodney.
Rodney would then give up another single, and then a ground ball to advance both runners into scoring position. He would then face Travis Hafner with two outs and get him to pop out to short left to close out the victory.
The Rays would get another base hit from an improving Yunel Escobar in the bottom of the sixth, but he would leave the game due to tightness in his hamstring. It was announced he will be day-to-day.
Evan Longoria failed to reach base safely, and ended his streak that had lasted since late last season. Nevertheless, that was just a small negative in a big Rays win. The Rays look to continue their hot play of late as they head to Chicago to take on the White Sox at 8:10 PM on Thursday night.