First, the Jays knocked Alex Cobb down.
Then they knocked the Rays right-hander out.
Cobb got struck in the right leg with a line drive by Jose Reyes, sparking Toronto's four-run, fifth inning rally in the Rays' 9-6 loss in front of 15,993 at the Rogers Centre. Tampa Bay has dropped two in a row, outscored 19-11 by the Jays, who are winners of eight straight and 11 of 12.
It's completely halted any momentum the Rays (23-30) gained from their recent four-game winning streak, dropping them back to seven games under .500 and a season-high eight games out of first.
The good news for Tampa Bay was that Cobb is okay, staying in the game after Reyes ripped a liner off his thigh. It could have been a lot worse, as Cobb knows well after getting struck in the head with a line drive June 15, forcing him to miss six weeks with a concussion.
This time, Cobb got right back up, and after getting checked on by manager Joe Maddon and the training staff, threw a few warm-up pitches and stayed in. But the Jays weren't done, as Jose Bautista singled to score Reyes to break a 2-2 tie. Then Adam Lind (two-run homer) and Edwin Encarnacion (solo) went back-to-back to break it open, chasing Cobb, who allowed six runs on nine hits in five innings. The Jays have six homers in the first two games of the series, with Encarnacion boasting a club-record 14 this month.
The thing was, Tuesday started out as the pitchers' duel many expected between Cobb and Jays lefty Mark Buehrle. The two cruised through three, with Cobb breaking the club record for a starter with 24 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings.
The Rays knew they had to get to Buehrle early, remembering how the veteran threw a perfect game against them and struck out a career-high 11 in their first meeting this year back in April. And Tampa Bay did score first, adding two runs in the fourth on an RBI double by Sean Rodriguez and fielder's choice by Wil Myers. The lead didn't last long, however, as Cobb gave up two, two-out RBI singles in the bottom half of the inning.
The Jays added two more insurance runs in the sixth, and they needed them as the Rays continued to chip away, scattering 12 hits. Rodriguez, who continues to swing a hot bat, ripped a run-scoring triple in the eighth for his third RBI of the night. A Myers sacrifice fly cut the Jays lead to 9-6.