A night after losing to the Indians (and only managing to score one run), the Rays' bats came out with plenty of pop. Indians' starter was Justin Masterson who, like Matt Moore, had exceedingly high expectations coming into the season; thusfar, he hasn't lived up to said goals and expectations. Tonight, fortunately, he faced a very aggravated Rays offense, which did not bode well for the young right-hander.
Masterson was roughed up badly, giving up 9 hits and 8 earned runs, while only lasting 4.1 innings, which is one of his worst starts this season. It wasn't that he was pitching terribly, though, it was more along the lines of the fact that the Rays' hitters were seeing the ball extremely well.
All but two Rays players in the starting lineup got a hit, and five of those players had two hits apiece. When the opposing team's hitters are seeing your pitches as if they were oversized beach balls, you're not in for a very long outing, and Masterson found that out the hard way.
This was made evidently clear when Ben Zobrist hit a two-run homer in the first, which clearly got to Masterson, as he never really regained composure for the rest of his very brief outing.
Cleveland tied it up at two in the bottom half via a Travis Hafner groundout and then a Alex Cobb balk with a runner at third.
Jose Lobaton broke the tie in the second however, giving the Rays a 4-2 lead on a two-out bases loaded single.
From that point on (except the only other run Cleveland would score), it was all Rays bats. The big story of the day was Luke Scott, who broke his 0-41 slump with a two-run jack in the fifth, giving the Rays a 6-2 lead. RaysIndex.com summed up the moment pretty well:
A couple batters later, Elliot Johnson would double home two more runs to make it 8-2. To add insult to injury, Zobrist would add to his RBI total on the night by hitting a sacrifice fly, while BJ Upton singled home a run to make it 10-2 and cap the 6-run inning.
Shin-Soo Choo would single home the last and final run of the game in the fifth. After the fifth, though, it seemed as if all the life had been sucked out of the Rays bats, but a 10-3 margin wasn't much to complain about at that point.
On the flip side, Alex Cobb pitched six relatively strong innings, only giving up three runs and walking two batters, but did get hit around a bit (though not to the extent of Masterson) allowing six hits. For the most part, Cobb used his widely-underrated changeup to catch the Indians' hitters off guard, which showed signs of maturation as a pitcher.
The Rays improve to 44-40 on the season, and remain a seven games behind the Yankees. The Red Sox lost to New York Friday night, and are now 1.5 games behind the Rays. Baltimore won their game against LA, and stay 1.5 games up on Tampa.
Once 10+ games over .500, the Rays are now fighting to stay above the .500 clip, so last night's win was key to getting back on track.
Notables from tonight's game:
A. Cobb(TAM): (W, 4-5) 6 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K
B. Zobrist(TAM): 1-3, 2 R, HR, 3 RBI
BJ Upton(TAM): 3-4, 2 R, RBI, BB
L. Scott(TAM): 1-5, HR, 2 RBI
J. Lobaton(TAM): 2-4, 2 RBI
E. Johnson(TAM): 2-5, R, 2B, 2 RBI
Rays News and Notes:
- Jeff Keppinger (triceps) did not play Friday, but was available as a pinch-hitter.
- According to ESPN's Jim Bowden, Oakland GM Billy Beane did not deny speaking to the Rays about catcher Kurt Suzuki, but did say that he speaks with Andrew Friedman frequently.
- The Rays have signed 16-year-old left-handed pitching prospect Jose Castillo out of Venezuela.
- Evan Longoria's rehab process has been delayed, as it looks like Longo will not participate in baseball activities until after the All-Star break.
- Still no timetable for Matt Joyce's return. He will see a doctor Tuesday.
- Matt Moore (5-5, 4.17) takes the mound against Ubaldo Jimenez (7-7, 4.59) tonight against the Indians; 6:05 ET first pitch.