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Alex Cobb earns win as Tampa Bay Rays turn back Cincinnati Reds rally

By Greg Auman, The Sports Xchange
Alex Cobb earns win as Tampa Bay Rays turn back Cincinnati Reds rally
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb checks a base runner. File photo by Ray Stubblebine/UPI | License Photo

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays bullpen struggled again, but Cincinnati Reds rookie starter Amir Garrett was bad enough it didn't matter Tuesday.

Tampa Bay's bats stepped up and the Rays held on for a 6-5 win over Cincinnati at Tropicana Field.

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The Rays (38-36) had been 8-16 this season against left-handed starters, the second-worst winning percentage in the American League.

Their bats came through early and often after a disappointing 7-3 loss on Monday night. The Reds (30-40) lost whatever momentum they had from breaking a tie score in the eighth to win the night before.

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Down 6-3 in the ninth, the Reds made it interesting with three hits and two runs off closer Alex Colome to put the tying run on base with two outs, but Colome got Scott Schebler out to record his 20th save of the season.

Rays starter Alex Cobb (6-5) gave up eight hits, but held the Reds to two runs in seven innings for his third straight quality start.

"I thought he showed some pretty good command with his fastball," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "When he has command of his fastball, he can mix in the curveball and he's thrown some good changeups tonight, so that was great."

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Garrett (3-6) didn't survive the fourth and raised his season ERA to 7.41, among the highest in the National League.

"(He) wasn't real smooth mechanically," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "The bottom of the lineup hurt him -- he walked (Taylor) Featherston a couple of times, a two-out homer to (Jesus) Sucre ... those are guys you've got to be able to get out to manage a ballgame."

Cobb only allowed two hits in his final four innings, one of them officially a double on a defensive miscue when a ball went off the glove of leftfielder Corey Dickerson, who had two big hits at the plate for Tampa Bay.

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One night after the Rays bullpen gave up four runs in the final two innings of a tie game, there was another scare, with Cincinnati getting a run in the eighth.

Colome then gave up a solo home run to Joey Votto with two outs in the ninth -- Votto's 20th this year -- to cut the lead to 6-4. Colome gave up a double to Adam Duvall and an RBI single to Eugenio Suarez to put the tying run on base before Schebler's out.

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Two Rays outfielders combined for three defensive miscues that resulted in extra-base hits and two of Cincinnati's three runs.

With two outs in the eighth, Tucker Barnhart hit a triple that got past a sliding Peter Bourjos in center field, allowing a run to score to cut the lead to 6-3. Another run scored after a triple dropped between Bourjos and Dickerson in the third and when Barnhart hit a double off Dickerson's glove in the sixth.

After falling behind 2-0 in the third, the Rays tagged Garrett for three runs each in the third and fourth for a 6-2 lead.

Dickerson, continuing to make a case to be an All-Star, had an RBI single to start the scoring in the third, then a solo home run -- his 16th this season -- to finish the scoring in the fourth.

In between, the Rays got a clutch two-run, two-out single from Logan Morrison in the third inning, and a two-run home run by backup catcher Jesus Sucre -- his third this year -- to start the scoring in the fourth. Garrett, who came in with an 11.17 ERA in his last four starts, managed to make that worse, leaving after six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings.

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"The command wasn't there," Price said. "Too many mistakes."

Cobb had trouble getting third outs early in the game, as the Reds had six two-out hits in the first three innings, but got only two runs from them.

Tucker Barnhart and Devin Mesoraco had back-to-back singles in the second for a 1-0 lead, and Rays outfielders Dickerson and Bourjos both pulled up on a deep fly ball from Adam Duvall, allowing it to drop for a triple. Eugenio Suarez followed with an RBI single for a 2-0 lead.

"I don't care who we are facing right now, we need some wins badly and we need to get them abundantly," Cobb said.

NOTES: Rays SS Tim Beckham did not play Tuesday after being hit in the left hand by a pitch Monday and leaving the game early. He's listed as day-to-day but would likely rest Wednesday with a day off Thursday. Tampa Bay played Daniel Robertson at short on Tuesday and he had a hustle double. ... Reds RHP Homer Bailey, on the disabled list all season recovering from elbow surgery and making his third rehab start for Triple-A Louisville, gave up two earned runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings on Monday night. ... Reds RHP Asher Wojciechowski, designated for assignment Sunday, cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Louisville. He went 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA in six appearances for the Reds after being cut by the Diamondbacks in March.

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