The Rays were not no-hit by Michael Pineda.
That is pretty much the best we can say about this game.
Pineda took a perfect game into the 7th inning. While he was surely helped by a generous strike zone (that seemed generous for both sides), he was really on his game. His slider was working well, his fastball had movement. He kept the Rays off balance, with scarcely any deep counts. He struck out 11.
We Rays fans know the feeling. Mark Buehrle. Dallas Braden. Felix Hernandez. Was Michael Pineda going to be yet another pitcher on the Rays Wall of Shame?
But today, it turns out, was not destined to be different than all other days.
With a Longoria double in the seventh, the perfect game was over. And a Logan Morrison 8th inning solo home run ended the shut out.
So just a regular old 8-1 loss.
Despite the score, this was a pitcher’s duel
The final score, however, is a bit deceiving. It was a tight game, with the feel of a pitcher’s duel, until the 8th inning.
In the silver lining department, the Rays pitcher was a fellow named Alex Cobb and his performance went pretty far toward suggesting that he is back.
Five runs (four earned) allowed may not be “quality start” material, but he was better than that line suggests. One of the runs scored after he’d left the game, one was a short porch homer, one came about after Norris could not corral a strike three curve to Gardner who was able to make it to first base, and was then driven in by an Ellsbury double.
Cobb made it into the 8th inning, striking out 7 and walking just one. Relying mostly on his fastball and a generally effective curve, he gave up 6 hits. And his ability to go deep limited bullpen use, which will be helpful later in the series, especially with Snell taking the mound on Wednesday.
Of course after he left, the wheels really came off.
Austin Pruitt was both bad and unlucky. Here’s his 8th inning: Triple, HR, single, single, error (on him), run-scoring ground out, fly ball out. The inning also included an error by Brad Miller (to put the lead off batter on) and a bad bobble by LoMo that was not called an error. Pruitt had the bad luck to have some poor fielding behind him, but he gave the Yankees a lot of juicy pitches to work with.
So far he has not had any clean outings for the Rays. While ERA is not a great stat for evaluating relievers, an ERA of 23.14 does suggest things aren’t going well. It remains to be seen whether the Rays will let him work through his problems with the big league team or will seek some other Durham option.