Rays quiet Tribe, advance to ALDS
CLEVELAND — Alex Cobb pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings, and Desmond Jennings belted a two-run double to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-0 win over the Cleveland Indians in the American League wild-card game Wednesday night.
Tampa Bay, winner of 10 of its past 12 games, advances to the AL Division Series against the Boston Red Sox. Game 1 will be played Friday at Fenway Park.
Cobb limited the Indians to eight hits and one walk. He struck out five. In two starts against Cleveland this year, counting Wednesday, the 25-year-old right-hander went 2-0 and threw a combined 14 scoreless innings.
Cobb was at his best in the middle innings, when the Indians had two golden opportunities to score.
In the fourth, Cleveland loaded the bases loaded with one out, but Cobb got Asdrubal Cabrera to ground into an inning-ending double play. In the fifth, the Indians had runners at first and third with no outs but again came up empty. Cobb struck out Michael Bourn, then induced groundouts from Nick Swisher and Jason Kipnis.
Both teams finished 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Indians rookie right-hander Danny Salazar lasted only four innings, as the Rays reached him for one run in the third inning (on Delmon Young‘s homer) and two more in the fourth (on Jennings’ double).
Salazar, facing Tampa Bay for the first time, retired the first six batters, striking out three. In the first two innings, Salazar threw 20 pitches, 16 of them strikes.
Salazar’s 21st pitch resulted in a 1-0 Tampa Bay lead. Young led off the third inning with a home run over the left field wall.
The Rays added two runs in the fourth. With one out, James Loney singled and went to second on a single byEvan Longoria. After Ben Zobrist flied out, Jennings ripped a double into the left field corner, scoring both runners to give the Rays a 3-0 lead.
Salazar gave up four hits and two walks while striking out four.
The Indians’ last chance to score came in the seventh inning when they had runners at first and second with one out, but Cobb retired Michael Bourn on a flyout and reliever Joel Peralta came in to strike out Swisher and end the inning. In his career against Peralta, Swisher is 2-for-19 with eight strikeouts.
Tampa Bay added an unearned run in the ninth inning on an RBI single by Yunel Escobar.
Rays closer Fernando Rodney struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth in a non-save situation.
Notes: Salazar, 23, was the youngest pitcher to start a postseason game for the Indians since LHP CC Sabathia, then 21, started Game 3 of the 2001 AL Division Series against the Seattle Mariners. ... Andre Thornton, a four-time All-Star first baseman and designated hitter for the Indians in the 1970s and ‘80s, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Jim Thome, the Indians’ all-time leader in home runs, also was in attendance. ... Entering the game, 13 of Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria‘s 18 postseason hits were for extra bases. ... Zobrist went 1-for-4, extending his postseason hitting streak to eight games, the second longest in club history behind a nine-game streak by B.J. Upton.