The Tampa Bay Rays notched their second consecutive win tonight after defeating the Astros, 6-1. Behind a strong start from Alex Cobb and timely hitting, the Rays looked more like the team fans came to expect heading into this season.
Cobb was especially dominant going 6.1 innings, allowing only one run on a solo home run and making Astros hitters look foolish for most of the night with 11 strikeouts. Tonight's performance was important for Cobb who has been up-and-down since returning from injury back in late May. If the Rays are to make any sort of run before the All-Star break, they'll have to get more starts like the one they got from Cobb tonight on a daily basis.
Most importantly, the Rays were able to get hits when they needed to tonight. Matt Joyce, Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria all came through with big hits with RISP.
Joyce got the scoring started with a double down the right field line in the top of the second inning after James Loney reached on an error and Zobrist doubled.
Speaking of Zobrist, he broke out of a six-game streak without an RBI and he did it in a big way. He finished the night a home run away from the cycle and contributed two RBI on a triple in the top of the fifth inning.
Despite the several offensive highlights, perhaps the play of the game came on a mammoth fly ball driven by Chris Carter of the Astros. It flew approximately 430 feet as Desmond Jennings navigated the hill in deep center field and made the tough catch to take away an extra base hit for the Astros in the bottom of the seventh inning. It all but stopped any thought of an Astros rally to get back in the game.
Overall, it was as vintage of a "Rays" win tonight as you can get since they changed their name in 2008. Timely hitting and strong starting pitching were the keys to a convincing Rays win and are in the midst of their first winning streak since their four-game winning streak that ended with a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on May 26.
Tomorrow's first pitch will be at 4:10 p.m. as Chris Archer takes on Jarred Cosart.