Cobb Brilliant, Rays Offense Pounds Sabathia

Alex Cobb was brilliant in leading the Rays past the New York Yankees by a final score of 8-3. The victory pushes the Rays record back over the .500 mark at 25-24 and the Yankees fall to 30-19.

Alex Cobb (6-2, 2.66 ERA) dominated the New York Yankees working into the 9th inning and allowing 2R/ER on 5 hits while striking out 8 and walking 0. He took a shutout into the 9th inning but allowed a leadoff home run to Brett Gardner to spoil that outcome and after allowing a single to Robinson Cano and striking out Vernon Wells his bid for a complete game ended as he was removed for Cesar Ramos.

He attacked the Yankees all afternoon and had a first pitch strike on 22 of the 30 hitters he faced. Overall he threw 113 pitches with 78 being strikes including 11 swinging strikes. He delivered 3o four seam fastballs, 20 two seam fastballs, 2o curveballs, and kept the Yankee hitters off balance with 43 changeups.

There was one controversial play in the 4th inning. After retiring the first 7 Yankees in a row Jayson Nix sent a ground ball to Evan Longoria who fired over to 1b. James Loney caught the ball with his foot on the bag but pulled it off to avoid being stepped on. The umpire called the runner safe for the Yankees first hit of the game. It would be the only hit the Yankees had until Robinson Cano‘s single to lead off the 7th inning. After the game Cobb was asked if he thought about pitching a perfect game and he laughed and said he “was trying to remember what happened…No I didn’t think about it.”

After the game Joe Maddon was asked if the umpire had called Nix safe because Loney pulled his foot off the bag or if he had beat the throw? Maddon said that the umpire said that Nix had beat the throw. Maddon said “now if you would told me  his foot was off the bag you may have a legitimate argument, but the moment you told me that he beaten it out totally  disagree.”

After the game Cobb was asked about not getting the complete game and he said “I was pretty upset about that. I definitely wanted to go a complete game. I thought I had a good chance. I thought my pitch count was down in in the middle innings of the game but it didn’t work out.”  Cobb was right about his pitch count. After needing 47 pitches to get through the first 3 innings he settled into a groove needing on 7 pitches in the 4th, 11 in the 5th, 9 in the 6th, and 12 in the 7th.

Joe Maddon said of Cobb that “he was wonderful. After what had happened yesterday to be ablet to come back and right us likke that was outstanding. He was that good. The fastball was that good. Velocity held pretty mcuh true the entire game with movement. The changeup and split was outstanding and so was the curveball. He was really really good.”

Yankees manager Joe Girardi also praised Cobb saying that “he’s really good. The young man knows how to pitch. He locates extremely well. He’s got one of the best changes – or split change, whatever you want to call it – int he game and he’s pitching.

CC Sabathia  (4-4, 3.96 ERA) started for the Yankees and was roughed up for 7 runs on 7 hits in 7 inning striking out 5 and walking 1. He allowed home runs to Sean Rodriguez (2nd) and James Loney (4th). For Loney it was his first home run off a left handed pitcher since September 28, 2011 at Arizona against Joe Saunders.

Sabathia was candid about his performance after the game saying “I’m hurting this team. I’m not helping the team out. I just need to get better….It’s everything: not being able to make pitches, tow strikes, fastball command. It’s just not been good.” He says its not an issue with his velocity “I feel find. It’s just one of those things. I feel like the ball is coming out pretty good. It’s getting on guys. I’m just not making pitches. The ball Rodriguez hit cut back over the middle – it was just a bad pitch.”

The Rays pushed across 2-runs in the bottom of the 2nd inning on the benefit of 1-hit. Sean Rodriguez led off the inning and was hit by a pitch. Yunel Escobar followed with a ground ball to 3rd baseman David Adams whose throw to 2nd pulled Robinson Cano off the bag.  The Rays loaded the bases after James Loney sent a broken bat ground ball to 1b Lyle Overbay who ranged far to his right and his only play was to try to get the force out at 2nd but his throw was late.  The Rays good fortune continued as Jose Lobaton sent a broken bat single to center that scored Rodriguez from third and the Rays grabbed an early 1-0 lead. The Rays scored their second run on a sacrifice flyby Sam Fuld that scored Escobar.

The Rays added another pair of runs in the bottom of the 3rd inning on a 2-run laser shot by Sean Rodriguez that scored Evan Longoria who had singled and they  extended their lead to 7-0 in the bottom of the 6th inning after Sean Rodriguez drew a lead off walk and came in to score on a double off the bat of Yunel Escobar who scored on James Loney’s homer.

David Huff came in to replace CC Sabathia and gave up a RBI double to Desmond Jennings to plate James Loney to give the Rays a 8-0 lead.

Alex Cobb entered the ninth inning looking for a complete game shutout. The attempt was short lived as Brett Gardner led off with a solo home run to cut the lead to 8-1. Robinson Cano singled but Cobb came back to strike Vernon Wells for the first out of the inning. With Cobb’s pitch count at 112 and 2 left handed hitters due up Joe Maddon went to the bullpen for lefty Cesar Ramos.

The move didn’t work as Ramos through 8 straight balls in walking both Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay before giving up a 2-RBI double to cut the Ray s lead to 8-3 and forcing a pitching change to Joel Peralta. who struck out Ichiro Suzuki for the second out and Jayson Nix to end the game.

The Rays will entertain the Miami Marlins tomorrow afternoon at 3:10 in a battle of rookies.  The Marlins send Alonso High School graduate Jose Fernandez (2-2, 3.31 ERA) up against Jake Odorizzi (0-0, 5.40 ERA) for the Rays.

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