The Rays lost 5-4 to the Yankees on Thursday night in heartbreaking fashion. Alex Cobb pitched phenomenally and took a no-hitter through into the 8th inning, but the bullpen couldn’t hold it for him. Cobb’s final line was 7.1 innings pitched with 1 earned run on 1 hit while striking out 4 and walking just 2. The Rays offense squandered chances to add on to their lead time and time again, which once again proved costly, and Brad Boxberger and Jake McGee let them down in the final two frames.
It was a quiet game until the 4th inning when Yunel Escobar homered to left with 2 men on base to give the Rays a 3-0 lead. Then in the 7th, Escobar homered again to put the Rays up 4-0, and at that point the game looked pretty much out of hand for the Yankees. After Cobb retired the first hitter in the bottom of the 8th, Chris Young doubled to right center to breakup the no-no, but even then it looked like the Rays could shut down the game with few problems. Boxberger then relieved Cobb and allowed a 2-run homer to Martin Prado to put the score at 4-2. After leaving 2 more runners on base in the top of the 9th, the Rays sent out McGee to pitch the bottom half. McGee hit Chase Headley the first hitter and then Ichiro followed with a double to put runners at 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. After striking out the next batter, Young struck again with a walk-off 3-run homer to win the game for the Yankees. Boxberger and McGee rarely struggle, and they even less frequently implode on the same night.
What hopefully doesn’t get lost in this dreadful loss was how terrific Alex Cobb was. Cobb definitely had no-hit stuff and kept the Yankee lineup off-balance. He did this by locating his fastball and using his split-change to consistently get the Yankee hitters to expand the zone and take some bad looking swings. With this start Cobb lowered his ERA to 2.75 on the year as he continues to establish himself as the ace of the Rays’ staff.