Alex Cobb Struggles, Late Rally Falls Short As Rays Lose 4-2
The Tampa Bay Rays fell behind 3-0 after the first inning and trailed 4-1 when Alex Cobb departed the game after 5 innings. The bullpen kept the Jays scoreless as the Rays offense cut the led to 4-1 in the eighth and added another run in the ninth had the game tying runs in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth but Sergio Santos struck out Yunel Escobar to end the game and hand the Rays their first defeat on the season.
Alex Cobb needed one pitch to get out of a first inning jam. Melky Cabrera who had singled to lead off the game stood at second base Jose Bautista who had walked was at second base and Adam Lind stood in the batters box looking for a big two out hit. With the count in his favor he could be selective and look for a pitch to his liking and he got a rare flat change up and hammered a three run home run to straight away center field. It was the first time Cobb had given up a 3-run homer in his career.
Cobb was never able to get into synch and departed required 104 pitches to get through five innings allowing four earned runs on five hits striking out three and walking four. The four walks were one shy of his career of five walks (vs Cleveland July 16, 2012).
Several members of the bullpen made their season debuts in relief of Cobb and held the Jays off the board to keep the Rays within striking distance. Heath Bell and Josh Lueke each worked a scoreless inning, Cesar Ramos delivered 1.2 innings of scoreless innings, and Jake McGee retired the only batter he faced.
Drew Hutchinson returned to the big league mound for the first time since June 15, 2012 while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The 23-year old Hutchinson was the talk of the Jays spring training as he displayed a powerful fastball, a nasty slider, and command of his arsenal. He was everything the Jays could have hoped for in his season debut delivering 5.1 scoreless innings on just 83 pitches allowing just three hits striking out four and walking three.
He departed with Matt Joyce at second and Yunel Escobar at first and only one out in the fifth but Aaron Loupe retired Ben Zobrist on a ground out to third which advanced both Joyce and Escobar into scoring position for Evan Longoria who lined out to Edwin Encarnacion to end the inning.
Loupe stayed in to hold the Rays off the board in the seventh inning and turned the ball over to Steve Delabar in the eighth. The Rays finally broke through to score their only run on the evening when Matt Joyce reached on an infield single and came around to score on a double by Wil Myers.
Sergio Santos replacing the injured Casey Janssen as the Jays closer entered the ninth inning with a 4-1 lead but gave up a leadoff double to Evan Longoria who came around to score on a Desmond Jennings double. With 2-outs Ryan Hanigan drew a walk and was replaced by pinch-runner Sean Rodriguez. Jennings and Rodriguez completed a double steal to move into scoring position for Yunel Escobar who struck out looking.