The Tampa Bay Rays rode a second inning home run the entire way, and three Rays pitchers combined for a four-hit shut out, winning game two against the Cincinnati Reds 1-0.
Just as you would expect in a 1-0 game, starting pitching all but stole the show. Both Rays starter Alex Cobb and Reds starter Alfredo Simon pitched wonderfully as they hung with each other almost blow for blow. Cobb lasted seven innings and stayed under 90 pitches, allowing four hits and striking out five, keeping the Reds not only off the scoreboard, but off the base paths via a free pass, issuing no walks during his outing. For Simon, he outlasted Cobb, going eight innings, and giving up just five hits, but he allowed the decisive run to cross the plate.
The lone run of the contest came off the bat of James Loney in the second inning, taking a splitter thrown by Simon into the right field seats. The blast was Loney’s first of the season.
The Reds were not without chances, however, and the biggest threat came in the bottom of the fourth, when Joey Votto would hit a high fly ball into left field that David DeJesus would lose in the sun. It would bounce into the stands for a ground rule double, and looked to be a great source for the Reds’ first run. In the next at-bat, Brandon Phillips singled into center field, but newly called up Kevin Kiermaier snagged it, and came up throwing, delivering an absolute strike back to Ryan Hanigan at the plate to get Votto out by a mile. On the ensuing Cincinnati at-bat, Phillips would be caught trying to steal third base on a close call (and if new Reds manager Bryan Price had decided to challenge, we might be talking about a different game). Cobb would end a crazy inning by striking out Jay Bruce.
Just like in Cobb’s last start, he wasn’t allotted a whole bunch of runs for support, but the struggling Reds offense couldn’t muster anything, and the one run proved to be enough. The offense continued to struggle today: something has to give sooner or later.