Innings 1-3: Perfect game alerts sent out. Blue Jays 1-0.
Alex Cobb made his third start since returning from Tommy John Surgery and his second against the Blue Jays. Cobb faced the difficult task of facing a team he has seen recently, but he sure did impress.
But at first at least it looked like the strong pitching performance was coming from the other side. The Rays struck their first five plate appearances and failed to get anyone on base the first time through the order.
In the bottom of the first Devon Travis hit a hard liner to right field that got over Steven Souza, Jr.’s head. I don’t think he would have made the out if he took a deeper route, but it might have been possible. Travis ended up with a double. Michael Saunders put down a bunt that he almost beat out, but Alex Cobb made a nice bare handed play for the first out. Edwin Encarnacion hit a shallow liner to Kevin Kiermaier, but Travis was able to score as Kiermaier’s throw was a few steps up the line. The Blue Jays went up 1-0.
The top of the second started with a ground ball to Nick Franklin who was playing 2B in short RF. Franklin threw it weakly to first and landed a good 8-10 feet in front of Brad Miller, taking a high bounce that Miller couldn’t nab. After striking out Ezequiel Carrera, Cobb almost got Kevin Pillar to hit into a double play, but Pillar beat out the return throw by half a step. Cobb got out of the inning with a grounder to second.
In the third inning Encarnacion earned a walk, but that would be all that the Blue Jays offense would produce.
Innings 4-6: Cobb near perfect and Rays offense breaks out. Rays 6-1.
The fourth inning went nothing like the front three for Estrada. Logan Forsythe started off with a single to left for the first Rays base runner of the game. Kiermaier followed with a routine fly ball to left that he was out in front of, but the ball didn’t stop carrying until it landed on the other side of the fence. Rays up 2-1 on Kiermaier’s 12th homer of the year and fifth of September. The homer also tied the Rays franchise season record with 199 homeruns as a team (2009).
The #Rays erased the @BlueJays lead on @KKiermaier39's 12th. #RaysUp— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 14, 2016
WATCH: https://t.co/SHzJOs25R0 pic.twitter.com/WNwuJKDcoH
The inning didn’t end there as Brad Miller worked a one out walk. Miller advanced to second on a Nick Franklin ground ball to first. Corey Dickerson grounded sharply up the middle to plate the Rays third run of the inning putting the Rays up 3-1.
In the fifth inning the Rays threatened again as they worked two walks but Evan Longoria hit a liner directly at the right fielder to end the threat.
The sixth inning was almost a mirror image of the fourth. With one out Franklin hit a single to end the afternoon for Estrada. The Blue Jays brought in left handed reliever Matt Dermondy to face the blistering hot Corey Dickerson. Dermondy threw a slider that leaked right down the middle of the plate that Dickerson destroyed to dead center to put the Rays up 5-2. The homer was Dickerson’s 20th of the season and 200th as a team that set a new franchise record. He also recorded multiple hits for his sixth straight start.
Multiple hits by @MCoreyDickerson in 6 straight starts, including this HR. #RaysUp— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 14, 2016
WATCH: https://t.co/eGMHR3Upx6 pic.twitter.com/OyGHU7RRKz
Because it’s September the Blue Jays once again changed pitchers and went with Danny Barnes. Souza, Jr. followed with a single up the middle. Now the luck dragons smiled upon the Rays as Bobby Wilson hit a grounder up the middle that was headed directly towards the second baseman, but Barnes deflected the ball with his foot and it got by a diving Troy Tulowitzki. Souza went to third on the play. Logan Forsythe followed with a swinging bunt that stayed fair down the line and hit the bag to score the Rays sixth run of the game.
Alex Cobb retired all nine of the batters he faced. He was very effective and was through six inning with 80 pitches.
Innings 7-9: Rays tack on. Rays 8-1.
Evan Longoria lined a single to left field to start the inning. Corey Dickerson picked up his third hit of the game on a soft liner to left field to put two on with two outs. Souza, Jr. flew out to end the threat.
Cobb got Tulowitzki to ground out to start the seventh. Dioner Navarro followed with a single. It was the second hit of the afternoon allowed by Cobb. Cobb got Carrera to fly out for out number two. Cobb ended his afternoon with a walk to Kevin Pillar. Cobb was really impressive with the only real complaint being the three walks.
The Blue Jays sent out Justin Smoak to pinch hit against Ryan Garton. Garton won the battle with a pop fly to Franklin in very short center field.
Cobb’s final line was 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K.
Both teams went three up and three down in the eighth inning.
The Rays put together another threat in the top of the ninth. Kiermaier started with a single. Longoria followed with what he thought was a homer as he was in his homerun trot rounding first, but the ball was smoked off the wall. Longoria was held to a long single and Kiermaier moved to third. Miller followed with a medium depth fly ball to left field to score Kiermaier, but Longoria moved up to second as Michael Saunders threw towards third base when there wasn’t a chance to throw out Kiermaier. The Rays moved ahead 7-1. Franklin smoked a liner to right field to move Longoria to third.
The Blue Jays made another pitching change bringing in right handed Ryan Tepera to face Dickerson with runners on the corners. Dickerson hit a grounder to Tulowitzki, but was able to beat out the return throw as the eighth run scored for the Rays. Dickerson picked up his fourth RBI of the game.
Steve Geltz came in to end the game, but he started off doing the one thing you can’t do as he walked Jose Bautista after falling behind 3-0 in the count. Tulowtizki followed with a strikeout on three pitches. Navarro hit a towering fly ball to right for the second out. Carrera ended the game with a liner hit right at Kiermaier.
The Blue Jays are going to have to pick things up if they want to make the playoffs.