Alex Cobb’s Arm, Ben Zobrist’s Bat Lead Rays Past Brewers 5-1
Alex Cobb Fans A Dozen En Route To 5-1 Rays Victory
The Tampa Bay Rays continued their impressive play in defeating the Milwaukee Brewers by a final score of 5-1 to improve their record to just one game below .500 at 53-54.
Alex Cobb (7-6, 3.54 ERA) delivered eight strong innings allowing just one run (earned) on three hits striking out 12 and walking two.
Matt Garza was equally as sharp for the Brewers (59-49) holding the Rays to one run (earned) on five hits striking out two walking two.
Aramis Ramirez singled to lead off the fifth inning and moved to second when Cobb issued a walk to Khris Davis to bring the powerful Mark Reynolds to the plate. Reynolds surprised everyone by laying down a sacrifice bunt to advance both runners in a move that paid off as Scooter Gennett delivered a sacrifice fly to put the Brewers up 1-0.
Garza carried the lead into the bottom of the sixth inning but made a mistake to Ben Zobrist leaving a 95-mph fastball on the inner third of the plate that he turned on and delivered his 9th home run of the season to draw the Rays even at 1-1.
Left-hander Will Smith (1-3, 3.72 ERA) entered the game in the bottom of the eighth inning and Joe Maddon lifted Kevin Kiermaier for Sean Rodriguez who drew a lead off walk. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Desmond Jennings and to third on a wild pitch.
Ben Zobrist delivered an RBI double to plate Rodriguez and put the Rays up 2-1. Logan Forsythe came in to pinch hit for Matt Joyce and doubled off the left field wall to bring Zobrist in and give the Rays a two run lead.
Marco Estrada came in to face Brandon Guyer who sent a slow roller toward Mark Reynolds at first base and he barehanded the ball and threw to home plate but Forsythe had safely crossed the plate and the lead was stretched to 4-1.
With the bases still loaded Yunel Escobar disagreed with a called first strike and let home plate umpire Bill Welke know he did not agree with the call. The two appeared to have words as Escobar stepped back into the box which led to Escobar being ejected. Cole Figueroa came in and took Escobar’s plate appearance and delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Longoria to put the Rays up 5-1 James Loney was tagged out attempting to move up to third on the play ending the inning.
With a four run lead Joe Maddon went to Grant Balfour to work the ninth inning and he was struck out Carlos Gomez and Jonathan Lucroy to open the inning and then retired Ryan Braun on a ground out to short to end the game.