In the 9th inning, Tampa Bay catcher Jose Molina broke for 2nd base and, regardless of a careening slide, was safe. It was his 2nd steal of the year and 14th in 13 major league seasons.
When it’s going right, it’s going right.
B.J. Upton hit a 2-run homer and Alex Cobb pitched 7 strong innings to help the Rays to their season-high 7th consecutive win, 4-1 over the Mariners on Monday night.
The Rays are rolling. They have grabbed control of the wild-card race lead by winning 10 of their last 12. They again used a productive combination Monday: Some pop, a high quality start and Joel Peralta mixing with Fernando Rodney to seal the win.
Cobb (7-8) allowed a run and 4 hits. He struck out 5 and walked 2 in his 4th consecutive quality start and 3rd consecutive win. His ERA is 1.93 over his last 4 outings. He threw 1st-pitch strikes to the 1st 20 hitters.
Upton provided the pop with his 13th homer of the season, a 2-run shot to the upper deck in left off Mariners starter Blake Beavan that gave Rays a 3-0 lead. Upton’s homer was followed by a single from Matt Joyce and a double to center by Ben Zobrist that made it 4-0.
Beavan (7-7) pitched 6 innings, allowing 8 hits and 4 earned runs with 4 strikeouts. He allowed all 4 runs on 5 hits in the 3rd inning, and just 3 hits in 5 other scoreless innings.
Peralta took control of for Cobb after the 7th. It was actually the 4th consecutive outing of 7 innings for Cobb, which was a formula Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon did not want to mess with.
Rodney followed Peralta to record his major league-leading and career-high tying 37th save in 38 tries by pitching a scoreless 9th. He extended his club record to 22 consecutive saves.
Sam Fuld singled and robbed 2nd before Desmond Jennings’ single drove him in for Tampa Bay’s 1st run.
Beavan authorized 5 consecutive hits during his 43-pitch 3rd inning. He struck out Carlos Pena looking to end it. After 3 innings, Beavan had recorded nine outs and allowed 7 hits.
Cobb retired the 1st eight Mariners before Brendan Ryan lined a single up the middle in the 3rd. Cobb speedily dumped Dustin Ackley with a grounder to 2nd to close the inning. Football scores
Eric Thames’ single through the right side in the 5th scored Trayvon Robinson, who had led off with a triple, to make it 4-1. But Thames was picked off 1st base by Molina after a pitch in the dust rebounded straight up to him and Thames had taken one or two steps towards 2nd.
Chone Figgins walked, and then Ryan and Ackley grounded out to end the inning.
Hard-throwing Seattle Mariners rookie reliever Carter Capps made his home debut in the 7th inning. Capps walked 3 and struck out one.
Zobrist had 3 hits and Maddon said he will continue to play shortstop, where he started Monday.