The Rays beat the Indians Saturday night by a score of 6-0 in front of a large crowd of over 32,000.
There was an intriguing pitching matchup, as Alex Cobb made his season debut against top prospect Trevor Bauer who made the first MLB start of his career.
Bauer struggled mightily right out of the gate, walking four straight batters to start the ballgame. Up 1-0 with the bases loaded and nobody out, a James Loney pop out and then a double play would swiftly end a disappointing inning for the Rays as they only managed to plate a single run. Yunel Escobar lined a ball right to right fielder Ryan Raburn who easily threw out a tagging Matt Joyce at home.
Frustration continued for the Rays’ lineup in the bottom of the third. After walking and then stealing two bags to reach third base, Desmond Jennings found himself in a good position to score with nobody out. Matt Joyce, the next batter, chopped a ball to the third baseman who fired home for a bone-crushing collision at the plate.
After the play, Ben Zobrist and James Loney both walked to load the bases. Yunel Escobar struck out swinging, stranding three runners on the base pads once again.
Despite having eight men reach base in the first three innings, only one would cross the plate for Tampa Bay.
The fourth inning was a different story for the Rays, however, as Kelly Johnson finally delivered the big hit that was needed. Johnson belted a two-run homer into the right field bleachers to extend the lead to three.
Trevor Bauer would end his rough evening after five innings, finishing with 3 earned runs on just 2 hits and 7 walks. Matt Albers would come on in relief in the sixth, and his outing wasn’t much better.
Yunel Escobar started off the inning with a groundball hit which he managed to stretch into a double thanks to a terrible call. The throw beat Escobar by a mile, but umpire C.B. Bucknor claimed that second baseman Jason Kipnis totally whiffed on the tag. Replay shows that, although he did initially miss the tag, he did eventually make contact with Escobar’s cleat before he reached the base.
Albers immediately exploded in a heated argument with Bucknor, leading to his ejection after just one batter.
A Shelley Duncan single would then drive in Escobar to score. The Rays would later load the bases with one out, but would fail to add on to their 4-0 lead. It was the third time in the game that the Rays left the bases loaded.
Alex Cobb would work into the eighth, when he would exit the game after striking out Mike Aviles. Cobb finished his outing with a line of 4 hits, 3 walks and 6 strikeouts through 7 1/3 innings (103 pitches, 64 strikes). He displayed good fastball command throughout his outing, and did well enticing groundballs (47%). Let’s hope that it’s a beginning to a breakout year for Cobb.
In the bottom of the eight, the Rays tacked on two more runs. James Loney broke the game open with a two-run double to the opposite field gap.
The ‘pen closed out the game with scoreless efforts from both Joel Peralta and Cesar Ramos.
The Rays go for the series sweep today at 1:40 ET. David Price will square off against right-hander Justin Masterson.
News and Notes:
- The Rays left 27 men on base Saturday night. Here’s a full boxscore of the game.
- Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times put together his all-time Rays team.
- The Upton brother had a big game last night in Atlanta.
- Scores from around the league: Toronto shutout Boston 5-0, the Yankees fell to the Tigers 8-4 and Baltimore lost to Minnesota 6-5.