The Red Sox turned a no-hit attempt from Alex Cobb into a comfortable 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays Monday night, helping to knock the Rays further from a wild card berth.
Alex Cobb was dominant early. Aside from a single walk to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, he kept the Red Sox off the bases all the way through the end of the fifth, relying on ground balls and weak contact by-and-large. The Sox' weak lineup could not do anything against him, and while there were signs of decline later in the game, with a couple of line drives finding gloves, he still did not break.
Aaron Cook had been much the same, albeit with a couple more hits to his name, but his shutout could not survive the fifth. A pair of ground balls got through, and all that was needed to push a run across was a safety squeeze. The Rays went up 1-0, and against Alex Cobb it was entirely possible that would be enough.
It ended up not even being enough to last them an inning. With one down in the sixth, Jose Iglesias was hit by a pitch, giving the Sox just their second baserunner of the game. One out later, and Jacoby Ellsbury was launching a fastball over the plate over the wall and into the stands in right, making it 2-1 Red Sox.
Alex Cobb would quickly find himself out of the game after allowing the first two baserunners to reach base in the seventh, and that opened the floodgates. Burke Badenhop's one-batter effort was wasted by Ben Zobrist, failing to convert a ground ball from Ryan Lavarnway and letting the Red Sox load the bases, and J.P. Howell gave up a single to Mauro Gomez to bring two more runs home. After a Jose Iglesias sacrifice bunt, the Rays made the curious decision of intentionally walking Pedro Ciriaco to get to Jacoby Ellsbury. The center fielder made them pay with another single, and just like that it was 5-1.
The Rays would get one back on a single, steal, wild pitch, and ground out in the ninth, but that was the only offensive attack they would mount in the last three innings, leaving them losers in game one, and giving the Red Sox their third win in four games.
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