The Rays continue to heed the advice of Dylan Thomas, refusing to go gentle into that good night, winning their seventh straight game Wednesday night by the score of 4-2. The hill may be too large to climb but at least they're making it interesting and not fading away, giving fans something to root for as we approach the final games of the season.
Tonight's starting pitching performance wasn't nearly as dominant as last night, but Alex Cobb was serviceable in his five innings of work. The right hander allowed one run on three hits but did also walk three which helped increase his pitch count to 91. Like Price, Cobb switched up his game against Boston. Price went away from his best pitch, the fastball, and Cobb went away from his signature changeup, relying more on his curveball. Coming into the game he had thrown his changeup 35% of the time, tonight just ~10%. The pitched still proved effective with a 70% strike rate and three whiffs.
The most important moment of the game came in the bottom of the sixth inning with one out, a man on second and the Rays clinging to a one run lead. However, the moment was once again no match for the left arm of Jake McGee who promptly got Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Ryan Lavarnway to go down swinging, ending the threat. Wade Davis, Joel Peralta and Fernando combined with McGee to allow no hits and just one walk in their four innings of work. Dominant bullpens win close games -- ask Oakland and Baltimore -- and that's exactly what the Rays had tonight.
The offensive production was contained to the middle of the order as Jeff Keppinger, Carlos Pena and Ben Fransisco helped the Rays jump out to a two run lead in the fifth inning. Following a Keppinger single, the Rays first hit of the night, Pena absolutely crushed a ball to straight away center field to give the Rays a 2-1 lead. Fransisco immediately followed that with his own monster shot to left field, giving the pitching staff a little breathing room. Jose Lobaton, filling in for the injured Jose Molina, doubled in a run in the seventh inning. It's a good day when Desmond Jennings, B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria can go 0-11 and the team can still pull out a victory.
Sadly, the Orioles and A's each won meaning the Rays won't make up any ground on either team tonight. The White Sox and Jake Peavy await tomorrow.