Tampa Bay at Baltimore

Scoreboard
Tampa Bay (72-52) «0120000047151
Baltimore (67-58)010000102451

Rays get sixth win in seven games, top skidding Orioles

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BALTIMORE -- The Tampa Bay Rays are doing a good job of creating some separation between themselves and the Baltimore Orioles, while at the same time keeping within striking distance of the first-place Boston Red Sox in the AL East.

Even though it's not September yet, the Rays don't intend to wait around to make their run at the top.

Alex Cobb took a two-hitter into the seventh inning, Matt Joyce drove in three runs and Tampa Bay beat the Orioles 7-4 Tuesday night for its sixth win in seven games.

Wil Myers had two hits and two RBIs for the Rays, who are percentage points ahead of Boston in the AL East after the Red Sox lost to the Giants later Tuesday night.

Tampa Bay has won the first two games of this series between AL East rivals and can complete a sweep Wednesday night.

"It's very big for where we're at in the division and the fact we're chasing the Red Sox a little bit and also trying to create some distance, because we know the O's and the Yankees are very capable and very tough competitors," said Ben Zobrist, who had two hits and an RBI. "We don't anticipate it being any sort of easy road to the end of September and we've got to battle. This is two great wins for us to start off."

The Orioles, on the other hand, have lost six of eight and are in danger of being overtaken by the surging Yankees.

"It's not the position we would prefer to find ourselves in after the first two games of the series, that's for sure, but there's still plenty of baseball left for us to make up some ground," said Nate McLouth, who went 0 for 5. "It's not ideal at all, but we won't let this game affect (Wednesday's) game."

Cobb (8-2) was making his second start since being hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City's Eric Hosmer on June 15. The right-hander allowed two runs, one earned, three hits and four walks in six-plus innings to win his fifth straight decision.

"The curveball really helped me out early on," Cobb said. "My changeup started working a little bit so I established that I was going to throw in and out with the fastball early and I got them to expand the zone a few times with my off-speed pitches."

Cobb left after Baltimore used two walks and a single to load the bases with no outs in the seventh. Alex Torres got Brian Roberts to hit into a run-scoring double play before striking out McLouth to keep the Rays ahead 3-2.

"They brought in that lefty with that really good changeup to come in and do exactly what he did and that's why they're such a tough team," McLouth said. "Because they can make life pretty tough on you."

Joyce doubled in two runs in the ninth off T.J. McFarland and Myers added a broken-bat, two-run single off Jim Johnson.

Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer in the bottom half before Fernando Rodney entered and got three outs for his 29th save.

Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez (8-6) gave up three runs, two earned, eight hits and four walks in 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander is 0-3 in five starts since July 20.

One night after getting 15 hits in a 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay, Baltimore managed only five hits, four of them singles.

"We didn't get any hits. That's obvious," manager Buck Showalter said. "If you want to look for a reason, I personally look at Cobb, who was tough. We didn't do much off him tonight. I think that was it in a nutshell."

The Rays have won seven of eight against the Orioles to take an 8-5 lead in the season series.

The two teams with the fewest errors in the majors each gave up an unearned run in the second inning. In the top half, Joyce walked, advanced on an errant pickoff throw by Gonzalez and scored on a two-out bloop by Yunel Escobar.

Baltimore tied it when Evan Longoria muffed a grounder and Flaherty singled in a run with two outs.

Tampa Bay went up 3-1 in the third. After Desmond Jennings walked and scored on a double by Zobrist, Longoria singled and Joyce delivered a sacrifice fly.

Gonzalez worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth by getting James Loney to bounce into a double play.

Notes

Zobrist moved into a fifth-place tie with B.J. Upton on the team's career RBI list with 447. Aubrey Huff is in fourth with 449. ... Jeremy Hellickson, who's 8-3 lifetime against Baltimore, starts for Tampa Bay in the series finale Wednesday night. LH Wei-Yin Chen will pitch for Baltimore. ... The Orioles had won five straight over the Rays with Gonzalez as the starter. ... McLouth is hitless in his last 17 at-bats.

 
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Alex Cobb allows two runs, one earned, three hits and four walks in the Rays' win over the Orioles. (USATSI)
Alex Cobb allows two runs, one earned, three hits and four walks in the Rays' win over the Orioles. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

M. Joyce
AB 2
R 2
H 1
HR 0
RBI 3
Baltimore

M. Wieters
AB 3
R 3
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Desmond Jennings, CF4210113 .258
Ben Zobrist, 2B5121002 .271
Evan Longoria, 3B4110101 .273
Matt Joyce, LF2213200 .251
Wil Myers, RF5022012 .312
James Loney, 1B5020012 .311
Yunel Escobar, SS5031010 .268
Jose Molina, C5010004 .241
Kelly Johnson, DH3120100 .254
Totals38715754  
Batting
2B - Ben Zobrist (28, M. Gonzalez), Matt Joyce (18, McFarland)
SF - Matt Joyce (3)
RBI - Ben Zobrist (59), Matt Joyce 3 (41), Wil Myers 2 (39), Yunel Escobar (51)
2-OUT RBI - Yunel Escobar (20)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Loney, Loney-Longoria-Zobrist, Loney-Longoria-Zobrist-Escobar-Zobrist-Loney
E - Evan Longoria (8, Misplayed grounder)
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Alex Cobb (W,8-2) 6321450 2.85
Alex Torres (H,4) 1000010 1.32
Jamey Wright (H,4) 1100000 3.04
Wesley Wright 0122201 4.15
Fernando Rodney (S,29) 1000010 3.83
HBP - Davis (by Alex Cobb)
Pitches-Strikes - Alex Cobb 92-55, Alex Torres 11-7, Jamey Wright 8-5, Wesley Wright 18-8, Fernando Rodney 13-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alex Cobb 7-6, Alex Torres 1-0, Jamey Wright 1-1
Batters Faced - Alex Cobb 26, Alex Torres 2, Jamey Wright 3, Wesley Wright 3, Fernando Rodney 3
Baltimore Orioles
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Nate McLouth, LF5000032 .268
Manny Machado, 3B4000000 .294
Chris Davis, 1B2010110 .306
Adam Jones, CF4010013 .300
Nick Markakis, RF3100101 .277
Matt Wieters, C3312110 .236
J.J. Hardy, SS2010200 .259
Ryan Flaherty, 2B3011111 .220
Brian Roberts, DH4000003 .257
Totals3045367  
Batting
HR - Matt Wieters (19, Wright)
RBI - Matt Wieters 2 (61), Ryan Flaherty (19)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Flaherty (8)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Flaherty-Hardy-Davis, Flaherty-Hardy-Davis-Machado-Flaherty-Davis, Flaherty-Hardy-Davis-Machado-Flaherty-Davis-Machado-Davis
E - Miguel Gonzalez (1, Throwing)
Baltimore Orioles
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Miguel Gonzalez (L,8-6) 5.2832440 3.81
T.J. McFarland 2.2444100 4.68
Jim Johnson 0.2300000 3.58
IBB - Longoria by T.J. McFarland
Pitches-Strikes - Miguel Gonzalez 112-76, T.J. McFarland 35-22, Jim Johnson 19-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Miguel Gonzalez 9-3, T.J. McFarland 6-1, Jim Johnson 1-0
Batters Faced - Miguel Gonzalez 28, T.J. McFarland 12, Jim Johnson 4
Game Information
Attendance - 26158
Game Time - 3:33
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Rob Drake, First Base - Joe West, Second Base - Sam Holbrook, Third Base - Andy Fletcher