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Rays Journal: An 8-4 win over ex-mate Cobb in a record way, Venters context, Duffy update

The Rays knocked out ex-mate Alex Cobb in the fifth inning. [AP}
The Rays knocked out ex-mate Alex Cobb in the fifth inning. [AP}
Published Apr. 26, 2018
Updated Apr. 26, 2018

BALTIMORE – The Rays knew there would be mixed feelings for all parties with longtime former teammate Alex Cobb pitching against them in Orioles orange.

Then they made sure he didn't enjoy it.

The Rays knocked Cobb out in a messy fifth Wednesday, rapping 10 hits off him overall on their way to an 8-4 victory, their fifth straight.

And they did so in style, with a team-record fourth straight game of scoring at least eight runs.

"We got the early run (in the first) and it looked like (Cobb) kind of got in a rhythm a little bit,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "But we stayed with it and got a couple big hits in (the fifth) and just pieced together a really good inning.''

The Rays, now 9-13 after a 1-8 start, got production throughout the lineup. Joey Wendle, Brad Miller and C.J. Cron knocked in two runs apiece, and Adeiny Hechavarria homered.

"Offensively, everybody contributed,'' Cash said. "And a lot of our pitchers contributed.''

When starter Jake Faria couldn't get out of the fifth, the Rays used four relievers. Andrew Kittredge ended up with his first big-league win, and Jonny Venters made his first big-league appearance since 2012.

Cobb had been having a rough go  since signing with the Orioles in late March, getting the fortune he was seeking, $57 million over four years, but he may not have had enough time to get ready, joining the Orioles on April 14 and struggling in his first two starts.

There there were stretches Wednesday when he looked to be his old self, using the pause in his windup to upset the timing of hitters and getting easy outs. But not enough, obviously, as he failed for a third time.

"This whole search that I'm on trying to get right is tough," Cobb said. "It's tough to watch. It's tough to play behind. It is even more tough to be out there on the mound doing it. There are no excuses."

The fifth straight win matched the Rays' longest streak in Cash's four seasons.

Long and short of it

The Rays brought up Jonny Venters to add a second left-handed short reliever to a bullpen that suddenly was deep in well-rested long relievers, optioning RHP Hunter Wood back to Triple-A. When RHP Andrew Kittredge took over in the fifth Wednesday it was his first appearance since April 15. RHP Austin Pruitt's last appearance was April 14. … With Venters joining Jose Alvarado, Cash said the Rays will be able to match up better against tough lefty hitters since he has two options. Venters, 33, is likely to be used just in short stints against lefty hitters, but won't be limited to one batter outings and can be used on back-to-back days. "I don't think there are limitations but we are going to be smart,'' Cash said.

Duffy getting close

3B Matt Duffy showed no issues with his previously strained right hamstring in a simulated game on Wednesday, and is slated to play seven innings for the Class A Stone Crabs on Thursday night in Tampa. If that goes well, he could rejoin the Rays as soon as Friday in Boston, where they could use him in the lineup as they face Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz, and then another lefty, David Price, on Saturday.

Number of the day

74 hours, 18 minutes
–  Time Rays were off from the last pitch of Sunday's game until the first on Wednesday. It's the first time, not counting the All-Star break, they had consecutive days without playing since April 11-12, 2013.

There's a history with Venters

Going 5 years and 202 days since his last big-league outing until Wednesday's one-batter appearance was obviously a long time for Rays LHP Jonny Venters. That's the longest gap for a previous All-Star since LHP Justin Thompson returned with Texas in 2005 after missing 6 years and 3 days, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … The last player to return after missing five or more years was OF/1B Chad Huffman, who made it back with the Cardinals on June 8, 2017, having last played in the majors on July 3, 2010, a gap of 6 years and 340 days. … The last pitcher to get back after a five-year absence was RHP Greg Infante, who returned with the White Sox on ay 15, 2017, a gap of 6 years and 226 days since his Oct. 1, 2010 appearance. … And since we know you were wondering, the Rays had two previous players make it back after gaps of more than five years:  OF Rich Thompson, who went 8 years and 24 days from April 22, 2004, with Kansas City  to May 16, 2012; and 1B Chris Richard, who went 6 years and 130 days, from April 30, 2003, with Colorado to Sept 7, 2009.