Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays beat Miami Marlins 3-0 behind brilliant performance from Alex Cobb

ST. PETERSBURG — As horrible as right-hander Alex Cobb said he felt in his pregame bullpen session, he thought he was in for a short start Sunday.

"I wasn't locating any fastballs, my changeup was up, and didn't even come close to my curveball," he said. "Thankfully, it made me zero in more than anything else, and it turned out to be a good thing."

It turned into one of the best outings of Cobb's career as he threw seven two-hit innings to lift the Rays to a 3-0 win over the Marlins in front of a Father's Day crowd of 33,810 at Tropicana Field.

Cobb struck out a career-high 10 in the series-clinching victory, keeping the Rays (37-29) within 3½ games of the red-hot Yankees in the American League East.

"He was outstanding," first baseman Carlos Peña said.

"Spectacular," manager Joe Maddon said.

What made Cobb's outing more special was that his dad, Rick, came from Vero Beach to be in the stands, and he joined him for a celebratory dinner.

"It brings up a lot of good memories, and you look at his perspective, it's probably something pretty cool for him to be able to watch on that stage and on that day," Cobb said. "It was really rewarding."

Cobb had watched most of the Rays' frustrating 4-3, 15-inning loss the night before from his bed, saying he saw the bullpen battle and "figured the least I could do was … save their arms a little bit."

Maddon said Cobb did just that with an "uncanny ability" to throw a first-pitch curveball for a strike, combining it with a changeup that B.J. Upton said was the best he has seen from the right-hander all year.

"He has very good stuff — very good," Marlins DH Greg Dobbs said. "He's a good pitcher."

Maddon said Upton "set the tone" with his leadoff home run off Marlins ace Josh Johnson.

"I just took advantage of his mistake," Upton said.

The Rays had a makeshift lineup after Matt Joyce was a late scratch due to flu-like symptoms. But Elliot Johnson, who wasn't originally scheduled to play, helped spark a rally in the sixth with a two-out walk before stealing second and scoring on Drew Sutton's single. Ben Zobrist added an RBI single later, scoring a recently resurgent Peña, and that was more than enough for Cobb.

Cobb (3-3) said it was a "big step in the right direction" in learning how to pitch when he doesn't have his best stuff. He improved his focus and execution with two outs, walking just one and allowing only a leadoff single in the third and a two-out single in the seventh.

Cobb capped a strong weekend of pitching by the Rays, who held the Marlins to one earned run in the three games. And Miami struck out 14 times Sunday, sparking the free pizza promotion for the third straight day.

"The way we played out there, they're going to run out of dough and cheese," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Cobb was pulled after seven innings and 100 pitches, with Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney continuing their impressive seasons with two combined shutout innings.

Cobb said it was the "right move" considering he has struggled late in starts recently. He still got to light up the Captain Morgan sign in the team's postgame celebration, done by the star of the win.

Said Maddon: "He was really, really good."

Joe Smith can be reached at

Rays 3

Marlins 0

Tampa Bay Rays beat Miami Marlins 3-0 behind brilliant performance from Alex Cobb 06/17/12 [Last modified: Monday, June 18, 2012 10:17am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  2. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)
  3. For starters: Rays at Rangers, with Erasmo on the mound again


    UPDATE, 6:36: Cash said the Rays will "be smart" in deciding whether to use Farquhar, Hunter and Colome tonight, so it could be a closing combo of the Blaze Brothers, Alvarado and Stanek, with Whitley another option. ... Cash said De Leon provides depth for tonight, and mentioned that some of the other relief …

  4. USF baseball heads to Gainesville for regional play


    TAMPA — Had USF's players and coaches been less confident in their NCAA Tournament resume, Monday's selection show might have induced fidgeting, perhaps even frustration.

    South Florida coach Mark Kingston looks on during 2017 American Athletic Conference game Tuesday, May 23, 2017 in Clearwater during the American Athletic Conference. The Bulls won 7-6.
  5. Rays call up Jose De Leon to add depth to bullpen tonight


    The Rays decided that after playing 15 innings Sunday they could use some depth and length in their bullpen after all and are calling up RHP Jose De Leon from Triple-A.

    The Rays have recalled Jose De Leon from Triple-A Durham.