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Rays 1, Reds 0: Cobb Shines in Rays Victory

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Alex Cobb went seven innings, allowing no runs and James Loney added a solo homer to propel the Rays to victory.

Joe Robbins

This will be quick and dirty because who wants to be stuck inside reading a recap on a Saturday?

The highlights were obviously Alex Cobb, James Loney, and Kevin Kiermaier's throw. Let's start with Cobb.

This was another brilliant outing, and would likely have been more brilliant if not for the silliness of National League baseball. Cobb threw seven innings of four hit ball, walking none and striking out four. The thing is, he did it in only 87 pitches, but because it was just a 1-0 game, was lifted for a pinch hitter to start the eighth inning. Instead of getting the chance at a shutout his day was ended early because the Rays needed to try and add an insurance run. Logan Forsythe doubled but the three hitters behind him failed to drive in the run.

The designated hitter is one of the best rules baseball has ever seen and the National League should, but likely will never, adopt it.

Of Cobb's 87 pitches, 59 went for strikes as he kept the Reds hitters off balance with his ridiculous changeup. He even got Billy Hamilton and Brayan Pena, Ruth and Gehrig they're not, to swing at changeups that bounced well before the plate (notice pitch #5 in this Pena AB).

Numlocation

He's thrown 87 changeups in his three starts. I don't have the data in front of me, but I'm guessing that leads the majors by a fair amount.

Loney provided the only run of the game with his second inning home run to right field. The team went 0-6 with men in scoring position, as they've been wont to do this season.

Kiermaier got his first major league start, giving Desmond Jennings a rest in centerfield. While he didn't pick up a hit, and was optioned back to Durham after the game to make room for Erik Bedard, he did provide the Rays with a play that ended up saving the game.

After a Joey Votto wind-aided double in the fifth, Brandon Phillips singled sharply up the middle. Kiermaier fielded the ball quickly and launched it home in plenty of time to nail Votto at the plate. Perhaps Cincinnati wanted to test the rookie, but it was the wrong decision to send Votto with no outs. Phillips advanced to second on the throw and was then gunned down by Ryan Hanigan while attempting to steal third.

No matter what happens tomorrow the Rays have won this series by scoring a total of three runs. Not pretty. Certainly not sustainable. But a win is a win and they remain in first place in the division.