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Rays top Indians in wild card, advance to ALDS: Quick hits

By Dayn Perry | Baseball Writer

Alex Cobb flirted with danger but kept runs off the board in the AL wild card game. (USATSI)
Alex Cobb flirted with danger but kept runs off the board in the AL wild card game. (USATSI)

More: R.I.P., 2013 Indians

Fresh off an elimination tiebreaker against the Rangers in Arlington, the Rays topped the Indians by a score 4-0 in the AL wild-card game.

HERO: Alex Cobb. The Rays' 25-year-old right-hander blanked the Indians for 6 2/3 innings. Over that span, he struck out five and walked only one, and of his 107 pitches, 64 went for strikes. Cobb, mixing in his breaking stuff to great effect, looked dominant in the early frames, but the Indians began to get to him during the second time through the order.

In the fourth he allowed a double, a single and then a walk, but he escaped by inducing a 3-6-1 double play to end the frame. In the fifth, Cobb allowed a double and then a single. But with runners on the corners and no outs, he bore down and got a strikeout followed by two infield put-outs. After that stretch of looking somewhat vulnerable, Cobb bounced back to retire seven in a row before allowing a pair of hits in the seventh. By turns, he was suffocating and then poised despite flagging stuff.

GOAT: The top of the Indians' order. Cleveland's 1-2-3 hitters on Wednesday night -- Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis -- combined to go 0-for-12 with four strikeouts and just one ball hit out of the infield. They teamed up to leave 12 runners on base. Cobb was hittable in the middle innings, but the Indians squandered far too many opportunities. Nowhere was that more apparent than at the top of the lineup.

TURNING POINT: Although many tense moments followed, Desmond Jennings's two-out, two-RBI double off Danny Salazar in the fourth put the Rays up 3-0. The game was far from over of course, but it put the Indians in a somewhat desperate state of mind for the remainder of the night. Specifically, Jennings's two-bagger dropped the Tribe from a 37.1 percent chance of winning to an 18.6 percent chance of winning.

IT WAS OVER WHEN: When the aforementioned Swisher deflected Yunel Escobar's liner into right field in the ninth, Ben Zobrist came around to score the fourth run of the game. That meant no save situation to open the home half of the final frame, and that meant even longer odds of a Cleveland comeback. Obviously, they weren't able to overcome those long odds.

NEXT: The Indians are done for the 2013 season. The Rays move on to face the Red Sox in the ALDS. Game 1 will be 3 p.m. ET Friday in Boston.

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