The Rays broke through against Doug Fister breaking a scoreless tie with 3 runs in the top of the 9th and Fernando Rodney came in and allowed two baserunners but did not allow a run as the Rays held on to defeat the Detroit Tigers 3-o. Rodney’s 12th save on the year made a winner out of Joel Peralta (1-2, 1.98 ERA) and the Rays record improves to 32-26.
Due to a cut on his finger Alex Cobb was unable to make his last schedule start and hadn’t taken the mound since May 26th (9 days) against the New York Yankees. There was some concern prior to the game as to whether the extended layoff would have a negative impact on his command or if the finger issue would limit the use of his curveball. Although he didn’t earn a victory he was masterful working 7.2 scoreless innings allowing 5 hits striking out 7 and walking 3 but only 1 of the walks was unintentional. He threw 108 pitches and 72 were for strikes.
Doug Fister (5-3, 3.27 ERA) took the loss but he was just as impressive as Cobb working into the ninth inning before giving up his first run. On the evening he worked 8.1 innings 3R/ER on 7 hits striking out 4 and walking 1. He made 105 pitches on the evening 68 for strikes. The loss drops the Tigers record to 31-26.
Rays Break Through In 9th: Sam Fuld led off with a bunt single and went head first into the bag to avoid the tag attempt by Prince Fielder. Fuld moved to third base on a Ben Zobrist single and came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Matt Joyce that also moved Zobrist to second. With Evan Longoria batting Fister uncorked a wild pitch to move Zobrist to 3rd and Longoria drove him in with a single to give the Rays their second run. With Fister out of the game and 2-out in the inning Desmond Jennings tripled in Evan Longoria to push the Rays lead to 3-0.
Opportunity Lost: The Rays ran themselves out of a scoring opportunity in the top of the 3rd. With 1-out Jose Lobaton hit a ground rule double over Torii Hunter‘s head in right and advanced to 3rd on a Yunel Escobar single to bring Sam Fuld to the plate. Fuld sent a hard grounder that Prince Fielder made a diving stop on and came up throwing to home plate to catch Lobaton in a run down. Tigers catcher Alex Avila ran Lobaton back toward third and tagged him out and then dropped down to tag Yunel Escobar trying to advance to 3rd for the inning ending double play.
Managerial Decision Pays Off: With 2-out and a runner at 2nd in a scoreless tie in the bottom of the 6th inning Joe Maddon elected to issue the intentional walk to bring Prince Fielder to the plate. The move worked as Alex Cobb struck out Fielder on 3-pitches to end the inning.
Managerial Decision Pays Off Twice: With 2-out and a runner at 2nd in a scoreless tie in teh bottom of the 8th inning. Joe Maddon once again elected to walk Miguel Cabrera to bring Prince Fielder to the plate. This time it wouldn’t be Alex Cobb to face Fielder it would be right handed pitcher Joel Peralta. Joe Maddon has called Peralta the best “left handed reliever” in baseball in a joking reference to Peralta’s holding left handed batters to a .176 (8 for 51) batting average. Like Cobb in the 6th inning Peralta answered the call by striking Fielder out.
Defensive Gems: In the bottom of the 6th inning Avasail Garcia led off with a single. Tigers manager Jim Leyland had Andy Dirks lay down a sacrifice bunt. James Loney came charging in from first, barehanded the ball, and threw a strike to Yunel Escobar at 2nd base to record the force out.