After being swept by the Mets in the previous interleague series, the Rays were in a bit of a hitting slump, and needed this series to help turn things around. While in attendance for the first game of the series, I saw no signs of "dead bats", as the Rays pummeled the Marlins 11-0, and Matt Moore finally looked like the pitcher people think he should be. Last night's game was a different story, and after 5 hours, the Rays lost by a single run, and remain winless in games that last longer than 14 innings.
Today's game, while not as lopsided a win as Friday night, was still a strong quality win. Alex Cobb needed vindication after getting hammered his last outing (in Miami), and his performance this afternoon was exactly what was needed for him to boost his confidence. Cobb allowed only two hits over seven incredibly strong innings, while striking out ten Marlins hitters, even giving the daunted super-slugger Giancarlo Stanton the "hat trick" treatment.
BJ Upton homered off Josh Johnson on a 3-1 count in the first, hitting it about six rows back of the left field wall, to give the Rays an early 1-0 lead.
It wouldn't be until the sixth inning until the Rays scored again, as the Rays had some tough luck as well as plenty of blown opportunities. The Rays extended their lead to 2-0 with an RBI single off the bat of Drew Sutton, scoring Elliot Johnson. The final and last run of the game was scored in the seventh, when Ben Zobrist stayed hot by hitting an RBI single and tacking on an insurance run for the Rays.
Today was all about great pitching; after Cobb K'd ten in his seven strong innings, Joel Peralta came in in the eighth, striking out two batters and not allowing a single hit. Fernando Rodney continued to prove an extremely valuable pickup, as he also K'd two while not allowing a hit in his quick 1-2-3 inning, simultaneously picking up his 19th save of the year.
The Rays improve to 37-19 on the season.
Notables from today's game:
A. Cobb(TAM): (W, 3-3) 7 IP, 2 H, BB, 10 K
BJ Upton(TAM): 1-4, 2 R, HR, RBI
B. Zobrist(TAM): 2-3, RBI, BB
D. Sutton(TAM): 2-4, RBI
Rays News and Notes:
- Reliever Brandon Gomes was optioned down to Triple-A Durham after Sunday's game. The Rays will call up a hitter—has not yet been announced who—in his replacement. It's not going to be Keppinger or Longoria though, who need more time in their minor league assignments.
- Longo had a scheduled off day in his rebab assignment in Durham yesterday. Keppinger went 0-1 for the Bulls with three walks.
- Around the division: All five AL East teams won their interleague matchups Sunday, so the Rays remain in the same spot in the division as they did yesterday.
- Luke Scott (back) is progressing well. Scott has taken swings this weekend and hit off a tee today.
- The Rays are off Monday, but will take on the NL-best Nationals for a three-game set in Washington. David Price (8-4, 3.01 ERA) will square off against Chien-Ming Wang (2-2, 4.67 ERA) to kick of the series.