Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

McGee gets first save for Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Matt Moore was doused with beer and water on one side of the Rays clubhouse after Thursday's game in celebration of his addition to the All-Star team. Across the room, Jake McGee enjoyed a quiet moment of accomplishment, a ball tucked into the toiletry bag on his locker shelf.

"I don't think we do beer showers for saves," McGee said.

Wet or dry, McGee was proud of his achievement, his first major-league save after 155 appearances over parts of four seasons.

"It was good to get the first one," he said. "A lot of people weren't really sure if that was the first because I've been around a couple years. It does mean a lot to me personally."

With Fernando Rodney unavailable after pitching in three straight games, manager Joe Maddon planned to use LHP Alex Torres in the eighth and RHP Joel Peralta in the ninth.

But when Torres, the rookie sensation working for the third time in four times, stumbled, allowing a walk and a two-run single that got the Twins within 4-3, things changed. Peralta finished the eighth, and Maddon summoned McGee for the ninth, unaware the 26-year-old didn't have a big-league save.

"He does now," Maddon said.

COBB REPORT: RHP Alex Cobb not only felt good in throwing a third bullpen session, but said he started doing fielding drills with no problems and took — and is confident he passed — the MLB concussion tests necessary to be reinstated.

Cobb, hit in the head by a line drive June 15, said an early August return to the rotation is "realistic" as he needs to progress through throwing batting practice and some minor-league rehab games.

But he is confident after working through initial concerns fielding ground balls and popups and standing behind a screen as line drives were hit at him.

"Pretty scary; the first (ball) seemed like it came back a lot faster than it did," he said. "After three or four, it became normal again, and it felt pretty good."

Cobb will throw again Sunday, possibly to hitters.

RHP Brandon Gomes (lat strain) also felt good after a bullpen session and will throw again Sunday.

GOING LONGO: 3B Evan Longoria had gone 47 at-bats over a career-most 14 full games — and parts of two others — without even an extra-base hit, hitting .128, before following Luke Scott's sixth-inning homer Thursday with his own.

"If anything, he's probably trying too hard," Maddon said. "But it's nice that he gets it off his back a little bit. I'm looking forward to the next three days prior to the break. I think for him, he can relax for the next three games."

Scott's homer, on an 0-and-2 pitch, landed apparently just shy of the back wall of the Trop beyond rightfield, estimated at 425 feet. He is hitting .373 over his past 21 games with 13 extra-base hits.

MISCELLANY: Moore broke LHP David Price's team record with his 13th win before the All-Star break. … Rookie RF Wil Myers is 5-for-9 since getting Tuesday off to work on his swing after a 3-for-23 stretch. … Camp day attendance was 24,751. … The Rays logged their seventh series sweep of the season and first of four games since August at Anaheim. …With a short night after Wednesday's 13-inning marathon, Maddon kept 2B Ben Zobrist, SS Yunel Escobar and CF Desmond Jennings out of the lineup. But Zobrist, who tripled and scored the decisive run, and Escobar were used. … The eight straight wins matched their second-best streak. They won 12 straight in 2004. … The Rays have won nine straight at the Trop, two off their record set in 2008.

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