Published May 19, 2012
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Alex Cobb won his first start of the season, Matt Joyce hit a grand slam and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Atlanta Braves 5-2 on Saturday.
Cobb (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings. He retired his last 10 batters.
Cobb was recalled from Triple-A Durham on Friday night to take the place of Jeff Niemann, who is on the 60-day disabled list with an injured right leg. The 24-year-old righty went 3-2 in nine starts for Tampa Bay last season.
Joel Peralta pitched the eighth before Fernando Rodney got the final three outs for his 13th save.
After Tampa Bay loaded the bases on a pair of a walks and a single in the third, Joyce put the Rays up 4-2 when he sent a 2-0 pitch from Randall Delgado (2-4) over the center-field fence.
The Braves had scoring chances in each of the first four innings, but Cobb induced two double-play grounders.
Braves third baseman Chipper Jones was out of the lineup because of a bruised left calf. He took a hard one-hop shot off the bat of B.J. Upton in Friday night's 5-3 win over the Rays. Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez is hopeful that Jones will be able to play again by Monday.
Sean Rodriguez extended the Rays' advantage to 5-2 on a sixth-inning solo homer.
Juan Francisco had an RBI single and Eric Hinske hit a sacrifice fly as the Braves took a 2-0 lead in the second.
The Rays threatened during the second, but Braves right fielder Jason Heyward caught Will Rhymes' fly ball and then threw out Carlos Pena, who tried to score from third.
Rhymes returned to lineup after missing two games with a bruised right forearm. He was hit by a pitch on Wednesday, fainted after walking to first base and had to be driven off the field on a cart.
NOTES: Tampa Bay 3B Evan Longoria (partial tear left hamstring) increased his agility work on the infield while fielding grounders before the game. ... Atlanta RHP Tim Hudson (2-1) and Tampa Bay LHP David Price (6-2) are Sunday's scheduled starterz. Hudson has a 7-1 career mark against the Rays. ... Tampa Bay RHP Kyle Farnsworth (strained right elbow) is throwing at 60 feet on level ground and long tossing.