Everything was lined up for Alex Cobb to get the win for the Baltimore Orioles in his return to Tampa. Cobb of course pitched six solid years with the Tampa Rays, and this was his first start in gray at Tropicana Field. To top it off, Cobb even went seven innings as opposed to the six for which we could pencil him in to this point. Cobb’s line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K.
Cobb’s lone run surrendered was an RBI-single to Bauer in the first inning. But after that he began mowing down Tampa hitters. Regardless of what he threw up, Tampa was fooled.
The O’s tied the game at one in the fourth with a solo homer by another former Tampa Ray, Tim Beckham. One inning later they had the lead at 2-1 off of a solo homer by Trey Mancini – a Florida native. And an inning after that, Mark Trumbo smacked an RBI-single, giving the O’s a 3-1 lead.
But the real story of this game was Alex Cobb. There was nothing that Tampa could do to solve him. And it appeared that the Birds were finally getting a strong pitching outing and enough run support to win. Heck, they even got an infield RBI-single from Adam Jones in the eighth…
…that is, until it wasn’t an infield RBI-single. Tampa challenged the play, saying that the runner was actually out at home plate. Replays seemed to back up their point, and the umpires agreed. What would have been a 4-1 lead remained 3-1.
Tampa doesn’t do things in a grandiose manner. Whereas the other teams in the division look for the big inning, Tampa patches a run here and there together by doing small things, until you realize that those small things end up equating big things. That reversed run was a small thing – at the time. But it became a big deal.
Cobb and Andrew Cashner seem to be penciled in at six solid innings. However on this night Cobb went seven, in an attempt to help the bullpen. But it turned out that he should have gone eight – or nine.
Cobb was replaced in the eighth inning by Evan Phillips, who of course came to the Orioles only recently in the trade with Atlanta. He managed to load the bases with nobody out in the eighth. While he allowed runners on and allowed runners to put the ball in play, the situation wasn’t helped by a potential ground ball double-play that was botched on a foul throw by Chris Davis. That would have recorded two outs and left the bases empty. But it wasn’t to be.
Phillips would uncork a wild pitch to cut the Orioles’ lead to 3-2. Tampa would later tie the score at three as Gomez grounded into a run-scoring double-play to tie the game at three. Tampa would make the comeback complete by Adames’ walk off home run in the last of the ninth.
Cobb deserved better in his return to Tropicana Field, and he definitely earned better. But this is what’s going to happen with a rebuilding team – and a bullpen that’s being rebuilt. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but games like these have to happen in order for things to get better.
The series continues tomorrow at Tropicana Field. The aforementioned Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Orioles, and in their typical atypical and wiry fashion Tampa has not yet named a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.