Rays toss 19th shutout, beat Orioles 3-0
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Alex Cobb has been on top of his game for some time now, whether he gets any run support or not.
Cobb and two relievers combined on a six-hitter for Tampa Bay's AL-best 19th shutout this season, and the Rays beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-0 Friday night.
The right-hander gave up six hits, one walk and struck out six. Brad Boxberger (4-1) fanned two in a perfect eighth, and Jake McGee struck out all three batters he faced for his 16th save.
''Our pitching shut down a really good offensive ballclub,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said. ''Cobber was outstanding, and so was Jake and the Box.''
Yunel Escobar's run-scoring single snapped a scoreless tie in the eighth inning. Cobb didn't figure in the decision despite going seven innings and allowing two runs or less in his team-record 11th consecutive start. The Rays are 6-5 in those outings.
Evan Longoria and Wil Myers started the eighth with consecutive singles off Ryan Webb (3-3). Evan Meek walked James Loney before Escobar made it 1-0 with a hard single that went off the glove of second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
Ryan Hanigan extended the lead to 3-0 with a two-run single.
''Good pitching, timely hitting,'' Hanigan said.
Tampa Bay has been involved in 36 shutouts this season, going 19-17 in those games. The Rays won for the seventh time in the last 20 games.
The Orioles were coming off a 9-2 homestand. Baltimore remained 9 1/2 games up in the AL East over the New York Yankees, who lost 1-0 to Kansas City.
''They pitched a little better than we did,'' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Tampa Bay played in its team-record seventh 1-0 game Thursday night, a loss to Toronto that gave the Blue Jays their first three-game road sweep of the Rays. Tampa Bay has scored 13 runs over its last six games.
''Teams go through those times where it's just tough to put a run cross,'' Cobb said. ''Eventually it will break through, and we saw that in the eighth.''
Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen, bidding for his 15th win, gave up four hits, three walks and struck out three in six innings.
The Rays loaded the bases with two outs in the second on a single and two walks, but failed to score when Sean Rodriguez hit a fly to right on a 3-2 pitch.
Cobb got defensive help in the sixth from Myers, who made a diving catch in right field on Chris Davis' two-out fly with Adam Jones on second.
Orioles: 1B Steve Pearce (abdominal strain) took batting practice and could start Saturday. Pearce, from nearby Lakeland, has five homers in 13 games against the Rays this season. ... LHP Andrew Miller (hamstring) felt fine after a bullpen session.
Rays: CF Desmond Jennings (sore left knee) missed his eighth straight game. Ben Zobrist made his second start this season in center.
Jones had two hits to reach 50 multihit games for the second consecutive season.
Boxberger set a team record for strikeouts in a season by a reliever with 94. The previous mark was 92 by J.P. Howell in 2008.
Orioles RHP Kevin Gausman (7-7) is 2-1 in his last four starts. Rays LHP Drew Smyly (9-10) is 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA in six starts since being acquired from Detroit on July 31.