Seattle at Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay
W: A. Cobb (7-2) L: J. Saunders (10-12)
HR: SEA - R. Ibanez (25)   TB - E. Longoria (23)

Rays' Cobb wins first start back from head injury wire reports

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Alex Cobb had a successful return after being sidelined by a scary injury.

Cobb pitched five strong innings in his first big league game since being hit in the head by a batted ball two months ago and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Seattle Mariners 7-1 on Thursday night.

"I'm happy with everything that happened tonight," Cobb said. "I learned a lot. I got to a point where I know that going forward I'll be getting better and I can take a lot of stuff from tonight's game."

Cobb (7-2) ended his night by striking out Nick Franklin on a full-count pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth. He received a standing ovation as he walked off the field.

"That was really fun to watch," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "It's really impressive to see him comeback from that injury that well."

Cobb gave up one run and three hits, striking out six and walking two. He said that he never thought about his injury during the game.

"That's probably something I'll reflect on tonight, but there's so much stuff you've got to think about leading up to every single pitch that you go through, you don't have time to think about the what if's and what happened," Cobb said.

Wil Myers, who had four RBI, drove in two with a double and Evan Longoria added a two-run homer off Joe Saunders (10-12) that put the Rays up 5-1 in the fifth.

"He's a great guy to have back in the rotation," Myers said of Cobb. "We're excited to have him back."

Cobb, activated from the 60-day disabled list before the game, sustained a concussion after being struck on the right ear by a liner hit by Kansas City's Eric Hosmer on June 15. He was taken off the field on a stretcher and was hospitalized overnight.

"Everybody goes through troubles," Cobb said in a prestart interview session with reporters on Wednesday. "If you let it wear you down and affect the way you think and affect the way you live, then it beat you. You got to beat the situation, and go out there and just be happy to be back."

Yunel Escobar had a run-scoring single in the seventh for the Rays, who have won two in a row after a six-game losing streak. Alex Torres, Jamey Wright and Wesley Wright completed a five-hitter.

The decisive fifth for the Rays started when Sam Fuld lined a single that went off Saunders' glove. After Sean Rodriguez had a bloop single to center that fell between a couple of Seattle defenders, Myers and Longoria followed with their run-scoring hits.

"I tipped it with my glove rather than my face, which is good," Saunders said.

Cobb saw Fuld's drive on TV in the clubhouse.

"It was a scary moment, but I'm glad he was able to get a glove up," Cobb said.

Saunders allowed five runs and seven hits over 4 1/3 innings.

Raul Ibanez gave the Mariners a 1-0 lead in the second on his first homer since going deep twice on July 12. He has 25 homers this season.

Myers tied it at 1 with an RBI single during the third. He picked up his fourth RBI of the game on a run-scoring double during the eighth.


Seattle manager Eric Wedge, recovering from what the team called a very mild stroke, could return during a homestand that starts Aug. 23. "He's passing everything with flying colors, he's feeling much better," acting Mariners manager Robby Thompson said. "There's a real good chance he will join us when we get back." ... As part of his season-long effort to keep his players loose, Maddon had a 20-foot python in the clubhouse before the game. ... To make room on the roster for Cobb, Tampa Bay designated INF Ryan Roberts for assignment. ... Maddon said a conference with the umpires in the third inning stemmed from both starting pitchers saying the balls were slick.

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Alex Cobb goes five innings, giving up one run on three hits to earn the victory in his return from a scary injury on June 15.  (USATSI)
Alex Cobb goes five innings, giving up one run on three hits to earn the victory in his return from a scary injury on June 15. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

W. Myers
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0

R. Ibanez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

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Seattle Mariners
Brad Miller, SS3000100 .256
Nick Franklin, 2B4010033 .242
Kyle Seager, 3B4000021 .283
Kendrys Morales, DH3010111 .294
Raul Ibanez, LF4121012 .253
Justin Smoak, 1B4000002 .270
Michael Saunders, RF4000020 .224
Dustin Ackley, CF3010000 .231
Henry Blanco, C2000110 .177
2B - Dustin Ackley (13, Cobb)
HR - Raul Ibanez (25, Cobb)
RBI - Raul Ibanez (59)
Team LOB - 6
Seattle Mariners
Joe Saunders (L,10-12) 4.1755301 4.86
Brandon Maurer 2.2211040 6.60
Carter Capps 1211010 5.71
HBP - Myers (by Brandon Maurer)
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 98-51, Brandon Maurer 57-37, Carter Capps 16-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 7-6, Brandon Maurer 1-3
Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 23, Brandon Maurer 11, Carter Capps 5
Tampa Bay Rays
Sean Rodriguez, RF-LF5120011 .262
Wil Myers, DH4234000 .326
Evan Longoria, 3B5122013 .268
Ben Zobrist, 2B3000102 .274
Yunel Escobar, SS4021003 .260
Jason Bourgeois, LF2000111 .125
   a-Matt Joyce, PH-RF1000012 .246
James Loney, 1B4000004 .310
Jose Lobaton, C3110100 .245
Sam Fuld, CF4210012 .207
a-struck out for Bourgeois in the 7th
2B - Wil Myers 2 (9, Saunders)
HR - Evan Longoria (23, Saunders)
RBI - Wil Myers 4 (37), Evan Longoria 2 (64), Yunel Escobar (48)
2-OUT RBI - Wil Myers (14)
Team LOB - 8
DP - Longoria-Zobrist-Loney
Tampa Bay Rays
Alex Cobb (W,7-2) 5311261 2.94
Alex Torres 1000110 1.40
Jamey Wright 2100030 3.16
Wesley Wright 1100000 3.74
Pitches-Strikes - Alex Cobb 88-53, Alex Torres 17-10, Jamey Wright 25-18, Wesley Wright 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alex Cobb 4-5, Alex Torres 1-1, Jamey Wright 2-1, Wesley Wright 1-1
Batters Faced - Alex Cobb 20, Alex Torres 4, Jamey Wright 7, Wesley Wright 3
Game Information
Attendance - 13299
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Jordan Baker, First Base - Marty Foster, Second Base - Marvin Hudson, Third Base - Wally Bell