Tampa Bay at Chicago

Tampa Bay (57-60)0010100000280
Chicago (50-66) «00101000013131

Cubs avoid sweep with 3-2 victory over Rays


CHICAGO (AP) Anthony Rizzo was responsible for two of Chicago's 17 strikeouts Sunday. He also had the biggest hit of the game for the Cubs.

Rizzo hit a game-ending RBI single in the 12th inning, and the Cubs beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 to avoid a three-game sweep.

Last-place Chicago struck out 44 times in the weekend series, setting a team record for three consecutive games, but Rizzo and touted rookie Javier Baez had two hits apiece to key a 13-hit attack in the finale. Carlos Villanueva (5-6) pitched a scoreless inning to earn the victory.

''We ran into three good pitchers, and their bullpen is very good, too,'' Rizzo said. ''Obviously, we don't see them very often, so that makes it even tougher. Strikeouts are part of the game now. They happen.''

Baez struck out in the 12th, but reached on a wild pitch that moved Ryan Sweeney to third. Baez moved to second on another wild pitch by Cesar Ramos (2-4) before Rizzo lined a single over a five-man infield and into right-center field.

''It didn't bother me,'' Rizzo said of the crowded infield. ''I'm not a ground-ball hitter.''

The Rays lost for only the fifth time in their last 23 road games. They trail Kansas City by 6 1/2 games in the race for the second AL wild card.

Tampa Bay grabbed a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning. Pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer got it started with a leadoff single against Neil Ramirez, who returned from the disabled list before the game. Guyer stole second and moved to third on a groundout before Desmond Jennings drove him in with a double.

The Cubs responded with a two-out rally in the bottom half against Grant Balfour. Sweeney doubled and scored on Chris Coghlan's triple.

Rays right-hander Alex Cobb pitched six innings of one-run ball. He allowed six hits, struck out six and walked none.

''Spectacular,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said of his team's pitching in the series.

Travis Wood matched Cobb with a strong performance for the Cubs. The left-hander allowed an unearned run and four hits in six innings, but remains winless in his last 10 starts.

Wood, one of the best hitting pitchers in the majors, also helped himself with a one-out single in the fifth. He moved up on a groundout and scored on Baez's single to center.

Baez's run-scoring hit atoned for an error in the top half that allowed a run to score.

Curt Casali started the inning with a double for the Rays' second hit of the game. Logan Forsythe walked with one out before Jennings hit a slow roller to second base. The charging Baez retrieved the ball in time to make the play, only to have his off-balance throw sail wide of first base.


Baez, who was promoted from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday, hit .276 with three homers and five RBIs in his first five major league games. The 21-year-old Baez also was charged with two errors in the field.

''We want him to trust his skill set,'' manager Rick Renteria said. ''We also don't him to feel that he has to carry the team.''


Renteria conceded that bullpen management has been his greatest challenge as a first-year manager, a task made even greater by a slew of close games. Cubs relievers began the day with the third-most innings in the majors this season.

''That's one of the reasons why we carry eight relievers,'' Renteria said. ''It has kind of worked out for the most part, but it is challenging, and we'll continue to do the best we can.''


Rays left-hander Drew Smyly (6-10) is scheduled to open a four-game series at Texas on Monday night. Cubs right-hander Jake Arrieta (6-3) will take the mound for the start of a four-game set versus the Brewers on Monday.

Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

A. Cobb
IP 6.0
H 6
ER 1
BB 0
K 6

R. Sweeney
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 0

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Tampa Bay Rays
Desmond Jennings, CF4021100.243.326.385
   Jeff Beliveau, P0000000.000.000.000
   Cole Figueroa, 2B1000010.205.250.231
Ben Zobrist, RF-SS4010223.285.371.433
Evan Longoria, 3B5000017.251.325.390
Sean Rodriguez, LF-2B-RF5010013.227.278.488
Yunel Escobar, SS5000003.257.325.331
   Brad Boxberger, P0000000.000.000.000
   Cesar Ramos, P0000000.000.000.000
James Loney, 1B5010000.287.341.374
Curt Casali, C5120011.167.265.200
Alex Cobb, P2000011.125.222.250
   a-Brandon Guyer, PH-LF3110001.274.349.357
Logan Forsythe, 2B1000100.246.298.357
   b-Matt Joyce, PH1000001.279.365.417
   Grant Balfour, P0000000.000.000.000
   Kirby Yates, P0000000.000.000.000
   Joel Peralta, P0000000.000.000.000
   c-Kevin Kiermaier, PH-CF2000010.282.333.502
a-singled for Cobb in the 7th
b-grounded out for Forsythe in the 7th
c-struck out for Peralta in the 9th
2B - Desmond Jennings (27, Ramirez), Curt Casali (1, Wood)
RBI - Desmond Jennings (34)
SB - Brandon Guyer (4, 2nd base off Ramirez/Castillo)
Team LOB - 9
Tampa Bay Rays
Alex Cobb 6611060 3.41
Grant Balfour (BS,3) 0.2211000 5.36
Kirby Yates 0.1000000 2.28
Joel Peralta 1000020 3.52
Jeff Beliveau 1200030 1.74
Brad Boxberger 2100150 2.02
Cesar Ramos (L,2-4) 0.1211010 3.93
WP - Cesar Ramos 2 (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Alex Cobb 95-61, Grant Balfour 18-12, Kirby Yates 2-1, Joel Peralta 11-8, Jeff Beliveau 21-13, Brad Boxberger 29-19, Cesar Ramos 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alex Cobb 7-5, Grant Balfour 1-1, Cesar Ramos 1-0
Batters Faced - Alex Cobb 24, Grant Balfour 4, Kirby Yates 1, Joel Peralta 3, Jeff Beliveau 5, Brad Boxberger 7, Cesar Ramos 4
Chicago (N.L.) Cubs
Chris Coghlan, LF5011022.288.367.477
Javier Baez, 2B6021021.276.276.621
Anthony Rizzo, 1B6021022.280.381.500
Starlin Castro, SS4010111.279.330.426
Justin Ruggiano, RF3000021.275.335.410
   Justin Grimm, P0000000.000.000.000
   a-Luis Valbuena, PH1000010.240.327.422
   Hector Rondon, P0000000.000.000.000
   John Baker, C1000011.206.289.248
Arismendy Alcantara, CF5000021.228.299.377
Welington Castillo, C4020011.238.299.383
   Edwin Jackson, PR0000000.158.158.211
   Pedro Strop, P0000000.000.000.000
   Wesley Wright, P0000000.000.000.000
   b-Junior Lake, PH1010000.219.246.368
   Carlos Villanueva, P0000000.000.000.000
Chris Valaika, 3B5010011.158.227.158
Travis Wood, P2110010.267.298.511
   Neil Ramirez, P0000000.000.000.000
   Ryan Sweeney, RF3220012.253.301.346
a-struck out for Grimm in the 8th
b-hit a bunt single for Wright in the 11th
2B - Welington Castillo (15, Cobb), Ryan Sweeney (8, Balfour)
3B - Chris Coghlan (4, Balfour)
SH - Chris Coghlan (3)
RBI - Chris Coghlan (22), Javier Baez (6), Anthony Rizzo (62)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Coghlan (9), Javier Baez (2)
CS - Junior Lake (3, 2nd base by Boxberger/Casali)
Team LOB - 11
DP - Baez-Castro-Rizzo
E - Javier Baez (2, Throwing)
Chicago (N.L.) Cubs
Travis Wood 6410350 4.86
Neil Ramirez 0.2211100 1.26
Justin Grimm 1.1000000 4.21
Hector Rondon 1000010 3.45
Pedro Strop 1100010 2.70
Wesley Wright 1100000 2.78
Carlos Villanueva (W,5-6) 1000010 5.11
Pitches-Strikes - Travis Wood 93-57, Neil Ramirez 28-16, Justin Grimm 11-8, Hector Rondon 14-9, Pedro Strop 18-15, Wesley Wright 11-6, Carlos Villanueva 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Travis Wood 3-10, Neil Ramirez 1-1, Justin Grimm 2-2, Hector Rondon 2-0, Pedro Strop 1-1, Wesley Wright 1-1
Batters Faced - Travis Wood 25, Neil Ramirez 5, Justin Grimm 4, Hector Rondon 3, Pedro Strop 4, Wesley Wright 3, Carlos Villanueva 3
Game Information
Attendance - 33039
Game Time - 4:08
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Hal Gibson, First Base - Al Porter, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Tom Hallion