While Cobb came away with a no-decision, the Rays notched a 4-2 win over the Pirates, complete with a really good vibe about Cobb going forward.
Cobb allowed no runs on two hits and a walk while striking out four in eight innings.
“There wasn’t any swing and miss,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “There wasn’t a lot of hard contact. So you tip your hat to that kind of guy. He was a craftsman out there tonight, as far as spotting that fastball and throwing that breaking ball.”
Added Andrew McCutchen: “Seemed like he was really locating down and in, up and in, really getting those pitches up in the zone. Not many of us could get extended on balls. He was just locating. More than anything, he was locating up and in on a lot of guys. He was locking a lot of guys up. He maintained that throughout the whole time he pitched.”
If the Rays are to remain in contention, Cobb will be one of the guys the Rays lean on. From what’s he’s showing, he’s up to the task.
Cobb carried a no-hitter into the seventh. Perhaps more impressive was what he did after he lost the no-no.
Entering the seventh, he’d thrown just 71 pitches and the Rays led 1-0. Cobb fell behind 2-0 to Josh Harrison, who led off the Pirates’ seventh. Harrison took advantage of the hitter’s count and broke up the no-hitter by lacing a single to right.
“I guess people do get locked in and don’t realize [they have a no-hitter], but you know when you give up the first hit in a game,” Cobb said. “I was aware of it, but I really didn’t think I had the stuff tonight to really maintain it, so to speak. But once I got to about the sixth inning, I was like all right, ‘Well, I am going to try to bump it up a notch.” And of course they get their hit.”
McCutchen followed with a single to right and the Pirates appeared to be in business. But Cobb got Josh Bell to hit into a 5-4-3 double play. Then with the tying run on third, Cobb retired David Freese on a ground out to third to end the threat.
Rays manager Kevin Cash explained the strategy of not allowing Cobb to go for the complete game and pitch the ninth. Cash explained that Colome is “there to close games, finish games for us.
“Alex probably had enough in the tank — 98, 99 pitches whatever it was — but he’s done enough to win,” Cash said. “A guy gets on, two guys get on, he’s going to come out. I don’t think it’s an ideal situation, given what Alex has been through the last couple of outings. I wanted to give him a clean inning. It worked out to a point, then they obviously had some big at-bats and pressured us.”
Cobb said he thought he had enough to pitch the complete game, but he backed Cash’s move.
“Absolutely under no means do I expect us not to go to our All-Star closer,” Cobb said. “He’s done it for us for so long. He’s going through a little bit of a stretch right now, he’s going to get out of it and he’s going to get some big saves for us.”