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Cobb shines after poor start

ST. PETERSBURG — Alex Cobb said Friday's start was a fight from the first pitch.

A's leadoff hitter Coco Crisp ripped a double on Cobb's first offering, and the right-hander said he wasn't able to get comfortable early.

But after Cobb gave up two first-inning runs, he found a groove, throwing five straight scoreless innings and ending up with a strong 71/3-inning outing.

The only other run Cobb gave up was a solo homer to Crisp in the seventh.

"After I got that first inning out of the way, I was able to kind of catch my breath, get comfortable and attack the guys the way I wanted to," Cobb said.

Cobb (2-1) said the key in the middle innings was mostly his curveball but also throwing first-pitch strikes and taking advantage of an aggressive A's lineup. He walked just one and once again went deep into a game. It was the second time he lasted 71/3 innings, the longest outing by a Rays starter this year.

" 'Cobber' wasn't as good as he could be," manager Joe Maddon said. "But he was definitely efficient."

GREAT SCOTT: DH Luke Scott (right calf strain) was encouraged after running the bases, his last test before starting a minor-league rehabilitation assignment. Scott ran from home to first and first to third at a good speed. "I felt really good," he said.

But the Rays won't decide on a rehab stint until at least Sunday, when Scott is expected to run the bases again. Scott said he hopes it will be a short stint, at least eight at-bats, and he can potentially return by the next trip, which starts Thursday in Chicago. "You never know, hopefully sooner," Scott said.

MAKE THE CALL: Though Maddon believes his team has been on the wrong end of several frustrating calls by umpires in the season's first couple of weeks, he said he's not asking for the "breaks" to even out.

Maddon just wants calls to be right and said what happened recently helps make the case for umpires having more technology and instant replay available.

Maddon was ejected Thursday after arguing with second-base umpire Gerry Davis that Orioles CF Adam Jones didn't touch second base on his way back to first.

Said Maddon: "I know those guys probably lose sleep and are very upset with themselves when they make calls or bad calls like that, just like I am when I do something dumb on the bench. We all make mistakes."

WIL WATCH: OF prospect Wil Myers, removed from Thursday's Triple-A Durham game with a bruised right foot, said on Twitter on Friday he felt no soreness but would be given the day off as a precaution. The Bulls were rained out. A doubleheader was scheduled for today, and Myers hoped to return to the lineup.

FAMILIAR FACE: Ex-Rays C John Jaso said he thought he had solidified his spot with the Mariners before getting traded to Oakland in January.

But it has worked out well for Jaso, 29, who is thriving in a regular role with the A's and entered Friday hitting .295 before going 0-for-5. He was drafted in 2003 by the Rays and played parts of three big-league seasons in Tampa Bay before being traded in the 2011 offseason to Seattle. Jaso said he still lives in his St. Pete Beach home in the offseason with fiancee Shannon and enjoys facing his former team.

"It's fun," he said. "The lineup has changed a little bit. There's a few guys that are still around, and I'm sure Maddon is driving the ship the same way."

HELPING HAND: 3B Evan Longoria will be at a celebration event this morning in Tampa for the Red Bull "Tampa's Got Wings" program that raised $80,000 to renovate Little League facilities at Cross Bayou in Largo and Belmont Heights. It is at 11 a.m. at the Belmont Heights complex, 2101 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd.

Cobb shines after poor start 04/19/13 [Last modified: Saturday, April 20, 2013 12:31am]
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