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Corey Dickerson, Kevin Kiermaier ignite Tampa Bay Rays in rout of Toronto Blue Jays

By
Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Kiermaier. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Tampa Bay Rays' Kevin Kiermaier. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

TORONTO -- The win was a long time coming for Alex Cobb.

In his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery, the Tampa Bay Rays right-hander held the Toronto Blue Jays to one run on two hits over 6 2/3 innings Wednesday afternoon in an 8-1 victory.

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Cobb (1-0), who struck out four and walked three, last won in the majors on Sept. 23, 2014, against the Boston Red Sox.

Corey Dickerson hit a home run and had four RBIs and Kevin Kiermaier also went deep for the Rays in the rubber match of the three-game series.

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"The amount if progress I've made in the last two starts has been tremendous," Cobb said. "I love winning. It's why starters go out there. You want to win the ball game, you want to work deep. "

The Rays (62-83) took the season set 11-8 from the skidding Blue Jays (79-66), who are 3-9 in September.

"We're not playing very good baseball right now, either end of it," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "I've got to believe we're at rock bottom. I'm still optimistic that it will turn."

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Toronto entered Wednesday in a second-place tie with the Baltimore Orioles, two games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East.

Marco Estrada (8-9) allowed four runs on as many hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

"We're all struggling right now," Estrada said. "It's kind of been a snowball effect. We've just got to stop it. We've got to find a way to do it. Nothing we do really has been working out lately. We've got to start pitching better, Obviously, I've got to start pitching better."

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The Blue Jays led 1-0 on Edwin Encarnacion's sacrifice fly in the first inning. Devon Travis scored on the play after leading off with a double and advancing to third on a sacrifice by Michael Saunders.

The double extended Travis' hit streak to 11 games, which equals his career best.

Estrada struck out his first five batters and six of his first nine.

The Rays took a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning. Logan Forsythe led off with a single, the first baserunner of the game for Tampa Bay. Kiermaier followed with his 12th homer.

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"I felt really good, thought I made really good pitches, even the home run," Estrada said. "I thought it was a pop fly and it kept going. I got Kiermaier out in front on a decent changeup, it was down. Maybe it caught too much of the plate, but it was down."

Brad Miller continued the fourth with a walk, took second when Nick Franklin grounded out to first and scored on Dickerson's single.

The Rays seized a 6-1 lead in the sixth.

Dickerson produced two of the runs on his 20th homer. It scored Franklin, who singled with one out.

Matt Dermody, who had replaced Estrada, allowed the homer to Dickerson, which was a club-record 200th of the season for Tampa Bay, surpassing the mark set in 2009.

Danny Barnes replaced Dermody and allowed a single to Bobby Wilson that deflected off the pitcher and an RBI infield single by Forsythe that trickled along the third-base line and stayed fair.

The Blue Jays had only two walks off Cobb after the first-inning hit by Travis until Dioner Navarro singled with one out in the seventh.

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Kevin Pillar walked with two out. Ryan Garton replaced Cobb to face pinch-hitter Justin Smoak, who popped out to shortstop.

"I'm really pleased with Alex Cobb, just the way he's come back," Cash said. "This is his third start. He continues to get better. The way he's around the zone and pitching to a game plan has been really, really impressive to watch. It just amazes me for a guy who's been off the mound that much, how around the zone he is, able to hit spots with his pitches."

Kiermaier and Evan Longoria singled against Bo Schultz in the ninth and Miller hit a sacrifice fly to bump the lead to 7-1. After Franklin singled to put runners at the corners, Ryan Tepera replaced Schultz. Dickerson forced Franklin at second on a grounder to short to score another run.

Steve Geltz pitched around a walk in the bottom of the ninth for the Rays.

NOTES: Toronto 3B Josh Donaldson (sore right hip) was not in the lineup for the third straight game Wednesday. He injured the hip Sunday. INF Ryan Goins started at third base. ... Rays 2B Logan Forsythe was used as DH Wednesday with INF/OF Nick Franklin started at second base. ... By winning on Tuesday, the Rays clinched their eighth season series win over the Blue Jays in the past nine seasons. ... Rays LHP Blake Snell (5-8, 3.62 ERA) faces Orioles RHP Yovani Gallardo (5-7, 5.44 ERA) Thursday in the opener of a four-game series at Baltimore. ... Toronto LHP J.A. Happ (18-4, 3.33 ERA) will start Thursday in the opener of a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. Daniel Wright (0-2, 7.50 ERA) will start for the Angels.

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