The Rays' amazing run of starting pitching performances had to come to an end some time. With that being the case it's hard for me to think of a better outcome than last night.
Alex Cobb, who had gone exactly seven innings in each of his last four starts, lasted only two and two thirds, allowing eight earned runs on twelve hits. It was bad right out of the gate as Mike Trout lead off the game with a home run...then the next four batters also got hits. As obvious as it sounds, Cobb just wasn't locating his pitches. Fastballs were left up and over the plate. Curveballs landed in the absolute center of the dish. I'm amazed he was able to get one swinging strike. The following chart is of Albert Pujols' home run in the second inning, but it gives you an indication of where every pitch from Cobb was ending up.
That sums up Cobb's night rather well. Luckily for him the Rays offense has been on a tear since Felix Hernandez' perfect game. Thursday night they scored seven runs. Friday night it was twelve. Last night? Last night they tied the largest comeback in team history with ten unanswered runs.
After a Jeff Keppinger ground out Sean Rodriguez reached on a single. Ryan Roberts followed with the same. Jose Lobaton was next and did what he's best at and walked. Sam Fuld singled, scoring one and giving fans a glimmer of hope. This is where C.J. Wilson loses it. He walked Desmond Jennings to bring in a run and struck out B.J. Upton but before the final out could be recorded Ben Zobrist would hit a bases clearing double to left and Evan Longoria would follow that up with a blast to deep center. The Rays had scored seven runs, nearly completing the comeback in one inning and lowering the heads of Angels fans everywhere.
They would tie the game in the sixth with a sac fly and take the lead for good after Carlos Pena pinch hit for Sean Rodriguez and crushed a two-run homer to right field. I especially feel good for Pena after he made the error Tuesday night in Seattle that virtually cost the Rays the game. It really was a team effort, though, meaning no one player had a huge game. Only two players had multiple hits and Zobrist lead the RBI count with three.
The bullpen deserves a huge amount of credit. They threw 6.1 scoreless innings, allowing just three hits after Cobb had allowed twelve. The highest ERA of the six relievers last night? 3.68. Pretty damn good.
The win moves the Rays to within five games of the Yankees and increases their wild card lead to a full game.