Game 124: Alex Cobb Comes Through in Second Start Back From DL

By Dereck Violante

Alex Cobb shows flashes of brilliance to keep the Orioles at bay with a 7-4 victory .

Alex Cobb, making just his second start since his 2 month stint on the DL due to the line drive that struck him in the head, was lights out tonight, keeping the Orioles 5 games behind Tampa Bay for the first Wildcard spot.  Efficient pitching was key for Cobb as he gave up just 3 hits, managed 6 innings of work, and allowing just 2 earned runs, while striking out 5 compared to 4 walks on 92 pitches.  Cobb was pitching a dominant game until it began to unravel in the 7th inning when he loaded the bases with no one out.  Thankfully Torres came in to limit the damage, surrendering just 1 run and making it out of the seventh still holding a 1 run lead.

Tampa Bay struck first that began with a lead-off walk by Matt Joyce in the top of the second.  After 2 quick outs Miguel Gonzalez made an errant throw to first attempting to pick off Joyce, allowing him to advance to second base.  That mistake proved costly as Yunel Escobar hit a bloop single to center field to score Joyce and giving Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead.

The Orioles did manage to strike back in the bottom of the frame as Adam Jones hit an infield single that Escobar made a great play on but Jones was too quick a runner to get at first.  After 2 quick outs, Matt Weiters came to the plate with the extreme shift on, in true Joe Maddon fashion, with Evan Longoria moved to the hole between first & second base.  Weiters reached on the play as Longoria struggled to field the ball cleanly.  JJ Hardy then walked to load the bases.  The potential inning ending error that Longoria proved costly at that point as Ryan Flaherty then hit a 2 out RBI to right field to tie the game at 1 apiece.

In the top of the third Tampa Bay scored 2 runs on a Ben Zobrist RBI single down the right field line and a sac fly by Matt Joyce to go up 3-1 at that point.

Alex Cobb was chased in the seventh as the Orioles managed to load the bases with no one out but Alex Torres did limit the damage to just 1 run when he induced double play ball to third base, as Longoria forfeited one run for the 2 outs, and struck out Nate McLouth.

In the top of the ninth the Tampa Bay bats came alive as they were able to knock around Orioles relievers T.J. McFarland & Jim Johnson for 4 runs on 7 hits and a walk to blow the game wide open.

The Tampa Bay offense was on point tonight as they managed 15 hits and 5 walks with Alex Torres & Jamey Wright also pitching 2 strong innings of no run ball.

Up next for Tampa Bay is game three of the 3 game series at Camden Yards as they take on the Orioles again with Jeremy Hellickson (10-6, 4.91 ERA) takes the mound to face off against sophomore pitcher Wei-Yin Chen (6-6, 3.23 ERA) for a 7:05 PM start.