Not every opponent can have the Boston Red Sox’s pitching staff. Take Tampa Bay, for example. There are no Aaron Cooks on the Rays’ pitching staff. There is, however, an Alex Cobb, and Monday, he handcuffed a very hot Orioles offense, as Tampa beat the Orioles 5-3.
Cobb (W, 11-9) gave up just one run on two hits through seven innings, outpitching O’s lefty Wei-Yin Chen (L, 12-11), who hasn’t won since August 19.
Chen, for his part, pitched very well through most of his 6.2 innings. Ben Zobrist touched him for a solo homer leading off the fourth (20), and, through six, that was the only run the Rays would score. Chen had given up just three hits until running into trouble in the seventh. By then, Matt Wieters had tied things at one with his 23rd home run, an opposite field drive down the left field line.
In the seventh, Evan Longoria led off by reaching on an error from Manny Machado. It was a big error by the kid who, without a doubt, has otherwise solidified the defense at the hot corner. Jeff Keppinger singled to right, moving Longoria to third. A Ben Francisco sac fly made it 2-1 Tampa.
Next, Sam Fuld picked up an artificial turf hit, a high chopper that bounced over first baseman Mark Reynolds glove. One out later, Rays catcher Chris Giminez delivered a killer, two-run double that knocked Chen from the game, and gave Tampa a 4-1 lead.
Tampa Bay scored another run in the eighth, and it was 5-1. But the Orioles had some fight left.
JJ Hardy led off the ninth with a single off of reliever Kyle Farnsworth. Next, Chris Davis hit a bomb that hit the catwalk on the roof at the Trop, for a ground-rule home run (32). Rays’ closer Fernando Rodney came on and gave up hits to Adam Jones and Wieters, before striking out Jim Thome and Mark Reynolds, then getting pinch-hitter Endy Chavez on a comebacker.
The O’s, who will be in the playoffs, again battle the Rays, who still have a slim shot at postseason play, Tuesday night at 7:10. James Shields (15-9, 3.62) goes for Tampa, vs. Baltimore’s Miguel Gonzalez (8-4, 3.45).
- Wieters and Hady: 2 hits each. Wieters homered.
- Nice life shown by the Orioles in the ninth, including Davis’ homer, his sixth in the last five games.
- Pedro Strop, who may be pitching himself off the playoff roster, and Troy Patton, did not pitch well in relief.
- Numbers 6-9 in the order: a combined 0/14 with one walk, 6 strikeouts, and 8 LOB.
- The Yankees beat Boston 10-2, and the O’s fall out of the first place tie atop the AL East.