The Rays won their third game in a row defeating the San Diego Padres 6-3 in what can only be described as an odd night during an adventurous week at Tropicana Field. Jake McGee (1-2, 10.38 ERA) earned the victory and Fernando Rodney picked up his 5th save. The victory improved the Rays record to 17-18 on the season. Dale Thayer (0-2, 3.38 ERA) takes the loss ending the Padres 4 game winning streak and their record falls to 16-19.
Alex Cobb started but did not to complete five innings which ended a streak of 34 straight games to start the season where the Rays starter went at least 5 innings. It was second longest streak to begin a season since records are first available (1916) trailing only the 1981 Pittsburgh Pirates 45 games.
Cobb was confusingly impressive in his 4.2 innings of work striking out 13 Padres becoming the only pitcher in major league baseball history to strike out 13 and not go at least 5 innings. His final line reads 4.2 IP , 5 hits, 13 strikeouts, and 2 walks. He threw 117 pitches and 77 for strikes including 22 swing and misses but the Padres made him work by fouling off 27 pitches.
The Padres extended their lead in another very unusual inning where Cobb struck out all 4 batters he faced but gave up a run. How is this possible? Cobb began the inning by striking out Will Venable but the ball got by Jose Lobaton and Venable reached first safely. He then stole second and third while Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin both struck out. Cobb was then called for a balk to allow Venable to score the Padres third run before striking out Yonder Alonso to end the inning.
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Edison Volquez started for the Padres and took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the 3rd but issued back to back 1-out walks to Matt Joyce and Ryan Roberts to begin the inning. Volquez retired Ben Zobrist before giving up a bloop single to Evan Longoria scoring Matt Joyce and moving Ryan Roberts up to 3rd. He then uncorked a wild pitch to score Roberts with the Rays second run.
After Cobb walked Yonder Alonso with 2-out in the fifth inning and his pitch count had climbed to 117 he was lifted from the game for Josh Lueke who was just recalled from Durham to replace the injured Brandon Gomes on the roster. Despite working 2.1 innings last night in Durham and throwng 31 pitches but came in and threw 1.1 innings retiring all 4 hitters he faced striking out 2.
Jake McGee entered the game with the Rays still trailing 3-2 and worked a scoreless 7th striking out 1. In the bottom of the inning the Rays offense, with a little help from the Padres defense, broke through for 4 runs to take a 6-2 lead. Jose Lobaton singled to start the inning and advanced to second when Dale Thayer threw wildly to first allowing Yunel Escobar to reach safely on a sacrifice bunt and Matt Joyce followed with a single to load the bases.
Ryan Roberts followed with a 2-RBI single to put the Rays on top 4-3 and knock Dale Thayer out of the game. Anthony Bass came in and uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Matt Joyce to advance to 3rd and Ryan Roberts to 2nd. Ben Zobrist followed with a 2-RBI single putting the Rays on top 6-3.
Joel Peralta came in to work the 8th inning and issued a lead off walk to Carlos Quentin but got Yonder Alonso to ground ball to James Loney who stepped on first and threw to second to retire Quentin. Jedd Gyorko flew out to right field to end the inning.
Fernando Rodney came in and worked the 9th inning and issued a leadoff walk to Kyle Blanks before retiring Chris Denorfia on an infield pop out and striking out Nick Hundley and Everth Cabrera picking up his 5th save on the year.
Overall the Rays pitchers struck out 18 batters in 9 innings equaling a franchise record set on August 28, 2011 against the Toronto Blue Jays (h/t @JasonCollette). That night the Rays used a trio of pitchers – David Price (14), Brandon Gomes (2), and Cesar Ramos (2).