The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-4 to win their 6th game in their past 7 and guarantee that they will remain at most 1 game behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East race. The victory improves the Rays to 72-52 on the year. Alex Cobb allowed just 2R/1ER on 3 hits striking out 5 and walking 4 in 6+ innings of work and picked up the win to improve his record to 8-2 and Fernando Rodney came in relief in the 9th inning to earn his 29th save on the season.
The Rays gave Alex Cobb the early 1-0 lead on a Yunel Escobar single in the 2nd inning. The Orioles got an RBI single from Ryan Flaherty in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 1-1. The Rays added 2 runs in the top of the 3rd on a RBI double by Ben Zobrist and a sacrifice fly by Matt Joyce.
Joe Maddon called on Alex Torres to come into the game and he got a groundball to Evan Longoria who stepped on 3rd and fired the ball to Ben Zobrist at 2nd. Even though the run scored but the rally was short circuited. Torres ended the inning by striking out Nate McLouth to end the inning.
After Torres escaped the jam Jamey Wright was brought in to work the 8th inning and after issuing a 1-out walk to Chris Davis he got the groundball double play off the bat of Adam Jones to protect the 3-2 lead.
The Rays padded their lead with a 4 spot in the top of the ninth. Kelly Johnson and Desmond Jennings delivered back to back singles to begin the inning and both runners advanced a base on a high chopper off the bat of Ben Zobrist. Evan Longoria was intentionally walked and Joe Maddon elected to have Matt Joyce remain in the game to face the left handed McFarland.
The decision paid off as Joyce pounded a double inside the bag at first base and drove in both Johnson and Jennings. Wil Myers followed with a 2-RBI single to plate both Longoria and Joyce.
With a 7-2 lead Wesley Wright was brought in to work the 9th inning. He issued a leadoff walk to Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters followed with a 2-run homer to cut the lead to 7-4. Wright’s night ended after he walked J.J. Hardy.