Game 63: Evan Longoria Homers Too Late, Rays Fall 7-4
The Tampa Bay Rays dropped the second game of a four game series with the Seattle Mariners earlier this afternoon, after Rays starter Alex Cobb struggled mightily through only 4.1 innings pitched, as the M’s took this one by a final score of 7-4.
Before the game, there was an incredibly touching ceremony in remembrance of Don Zimmer, in which baseball royalty such as Joe Torre and Tommy Lasorda were in attendance for, as well as a video shown with people from around baseball and it was capped off by both the Rays and Mariners wearing Brooklyn Dodger #23 jerseys, the uniform which Zimmer wore when he broke into the big leagues.
Cobb started out strong, allowing just one run through his first three innings of work on a one out solo home run by Cole Gillespie in the top of the second inning. In the next half frame, the Rays would answer right back, as James Loney lifted a line drive home run over the right field wall, and Ali Solis sacrificed himself to bring home Yunel Escobar. However, after that, the offense wouldn’t do much of anything for Tampa Bay.
The Mariners took back the lead in the top of the fourth, and Cobb found himself in a whole heap of trouble in the fifth inning, which he wouldn’t be able to escape from, as he allowed the first three batters to reach base before Dustin Ackley cleared the bases with a double and no one out. A batter later, he was replaced by Cesar Ramos.
The Rays offense had their chances, as the Rays on several occasions had someone at third base, but was unable to be brought home. Things got interesting though in the bottom of the eighth inning, when Evan Longoria homered with two outs to bring home Desmond Jennings and make it a three run game, but two fly outs and a strike out in the ninth would seal the deal and give Rays their 39th loss of the season.
Maybe the emotions of the pregame ceremony were too much for Cobb, but whatever the reason was, he simply didn’t have good stuff. He was leaving a lot of his pitches over the plate, and couldn’t get guys to chase outside. He left having allowed 10 hits and seven runs while only striking out two. However, the Tampa bullpen was solid, allowing just one hit and striking out three in 5.2 innings of work, including the major league debut of newly called up Kirby Yates, who struck out two and didn’t allow a batter to reach in his opening 1.1 innings of professional ball.
And, while Cobb had his struggles, the Rays offense didn’t fare much better. Roenis Elias‘ stat line is actually more impressive than it truly was – five hits allowed, four runs, five strikeouts over 7.2 innings – because he wasn’t that dominant, the Rays just didn’t put together good at bats. Escobar was the bright spot in the lineup, going 1-for-2 with a run scored and two walks, and reaching third base twice. That one hit was a legged out double on what many people would have settled for a single.
The Rays will be back at it tomorrow afternoon, as they’ll send Chris Archer to the bump to oppose King Felix, Felix Hernandez, in what is a 1:40 scheduled first pitch.