August 1, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Tampa Bay starting pitcher Alex Cobb delivers a pitch during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Beck Diefenbach-US PRESSWIRE
Rays Win! Rays Win! Happy Days are here again!
The Rays bats rallied behind another strong pitching performance, this time courtesy of Alex Cobb. We've heard about how 'hot' the A's have been in July, but the law firm of Price, Shields, and Cobb shut down the AL Wild Card leader and took two-of-three to finish off a six-and-three road trip.
The offense got right to work against A's starter Jarrod Parker when Desmond Jennings led off with a single up the middle. He'd find himself on third with two outs when Matt Joyce scalded a baseball to right that just barely got down in front of Josh Reddick to put the Rays up 1-0.
Carlos Pena had himself a nice day at the plate, driving in Keppinger in the sixth on a hard double past first base. He'd follow up that RBI in the eighth with a vintage Pena solo-blast to right on a hung breaking pitch. Difficulty: off of lefty Jordan Norberto. I'm not going to say Pena's about to go on a tear, but a girl can dream, right?
Pena's RBI were nice, but thanks to a great performance from Alex Cobb, ultimately unnecessary. The Beady-Eyed Beantowner pitched seven strong innings, allowing one earned run on four hits and one walk while striking out six in 91 pitches. The run came via a Brandon Inge Solo shot on a 3-2 pitch to lead off the fifth.
Where James Shields and David Price came out spitting hot fire the last two games, Cobb gave the A's a change of pace. He worked just 48% fastballs on the afternoon. He generated nine swinging strikes with his offspeed offerings (seven on the change up). As you can see he worked consistently to his arm-side against a relatively balanced A's lineup.
Elliot Johnson related bullets after the jump...
- Ryan Roberts made a few nice plays at third today helping me forget about his WTF throw in Monday's extra inning fracas. Elliot Johnson also flashed some leather at short. One was a great diving catch in the first that saved a run, and later he made a running play to gun down the speedy Jemile Weeks at first.
- While we're on the topic of Elliot Johnson; The Rodent was 1-for-2 in stolen base attempts today, but both tries were on pitchouts. The A's had EJ's number, but only just caught him the first time, and couldn't nab him for the encore.
- Still on Elliot Johnson: He kind of screwed up a safety squeeze in the sixth when he popped the ball up. Somehow, no one caught it, but it caused Pena to freeze at third and not attempt to score. Jarrod Parker would scoop up the ball to make the play at first, but Weeks couldn't hang on to the low throw and EJ was safe. However, it was all for naught when Desmond Jennings GIDP'd to end the inning.