After the rays pounded out 16 runs over the first two games of the series, they looked to take advantage of struggling starter Kevin Gausman, who came into the game sporting unsightly numbers (6.07 ERA, 16.6 K%, 10.2 BB%, 5.20 FIP). With a cruising Alex Cobb on the mound (5 ER over his last 27 2⁄3 innings) it was a matchup the Rays had to feel was in their favor.
It did not work out that way.
Both pitchers were dealing early, Gausman throwing three hit less innings to start opposed by Cobb setting down the first six. The Orioles offense started rallying in the third inning, with Caleb Joseph singling. Cobb hit Ruben Tejada on the shoulder to put two men on without an out.
The hit-by-pitch did ricochet off of Jesus Sucre’s hand, but he was able to stay in the game.
Joey Rickard laid down a sac bunt, putting runners at second and third, now with one out. Seth Smith then softly tapped a grounder back to Cobb, but Cobb let loose an errant throw to Logan Morrison that went out to right field, and Caleb Joseph was able to score.
After the error, Manny Machado blasted a home run to left field, and in the blink of an eye the Rays trailed 4-0.
In the fourth inning, Mark Trumbo took a curveball down and in off the plate out to left field to extend Baltimore’s lead to 5-0. With the large lead, Kevin Gausman was able to cruise through the Rays’ lineup, pounding the strikezone and getting hitters to swing and miss at will. In his final inning, the seventh, he struckout Souza and Beckham to punctuate his seven shutout innings.
Alex Cobb was able to right the ship for a few innings, but was struck with runs again in the seventh inning. Caleb Joseph again lead off an inning with a hit, and Ruben Tejada hit his way on base. Joey Rickard struck out, but Seth Smith doubled deep to left -center field to score Joseph and Tejada. That would be the end of Cobb’s day, as he would give way to Chase Whitley. Whitley did well to mop up the mess and keep Cobb’s final stat line at 6 1⁄3 IP 6 H 7 R (6 ER) 3 K BB.
The Rays would make a bit of noise after Kevin Gausman was pulled. Jesus Sucre, who injured his hand earlier in the game, showed no ill effects of the injury, slamming a solo home run over the left field wall, shaving a run off the deficit, 7-1.
The game would end on a Tim Beckham pop-up to the right side of the infield. It was a disappointing end to a productive series, and the Rays will enjoy a deserved day off tomorrow before heading off to Chicago to face the Cubs on Tuesday... July 4th.