It started with a bunt...is a sentence that's not usually associated with the Rays. But, here we are, shortly after the Rays shutout the Tigers and that's exactly the case.
Leading off the top of the ninth inning of a scoreless game, Sam Fuld bunted up the first base line. Using his speed as he's wont to do, Fuld was able to fly up the line and, in a rare instance when sliding into first is smart, dive under the attempted tag of Prince Fielder. Ben Zobrist then followed with a single to right, on which Fuld advanced to third. That heads up baserunning allowed him to score on Matt Joyce's sacrifice fly, giving the Rays a 1-0. Zobrist, who had advanced to second on the sac fly, was able to score on Evan Longoria's single. After a James Loney line-out, Desmond Jennings smashed a triple into right-center, scoring Longoria and giving Fernando Rodney a bigger cushion in the ninth inning.
The game had been quick and uneventful up until that point. Doug Fister and Alex Cobb were excellent, matching zeros until Cobb was pulled with two outs in the eighth inning. He worked 7.2 innings, holding the potent Tigers lineup to zero runs on five hits and three walks while striking out seven. His ERA dropped to 2.39, ranking third in the American League (h/t Rays PR ace Dave Haller). The cut under the fingernail that caused him to have a start in Miami pushed back didn't seem to be an issue tonight. He had great command of his full arsenal, throwing 108 pitches, 72 for strikes. As usual his changeup was his best pitch, throwing it 42 times for 34 strikes and generating nine swings and misses.
A good indicator of the type of stuff Cobb had came in the first inning when, after fouling off a curveball, Miguel Cabrera said "Wow", looked at Cobb in almost disbelief, and shook his head. High praise from the best hitter on the planet.
As well as Cobb pitched, perhaps the biggest moment of the game belonged to Joel Peralta. With two on and two out in a scoreless game, Peralta faced the ever dangerous Prince Fielder. Luckily for the Rays he was able to make quick work of Fielder, striking him out on four pitches, two swinging. That kept the game tied and allowed the Rays to take the lead the next inning.