St. Petersburg, FL – Alex Cobb tossed 7 1/3 outstanding innings to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a second straight shutout of the Cleveland Indians with a 6-0 decision at Tropicana Field.
One night after Matt Moore combined with three relievers on a two-hitter, Cobb (1-0) yielded just four singles and three walks while recording six strikeouts before exiting after throwing 103 pitches. The young right-hander retired 15 of the final 18 batters he faced.
"I was able to get back to just slowing down and staying on top of the ball and working downhill," Cobb said. "It worked out for me later in the game as I was able to get some groundballs."
Counterpart Trevor Bauer (0-1), on the other hand, struggled mightily with his command in a substitute start for the injured Scott Kazmir. The highly regarded prospect walked seven hitters -- including six over the first three innings -- and was reached for three runs over five frames.
Kelly Johnson gave Cobb all the support he needed with a two-run homer off Bauer in the fourth inning, with James Loney providing some insurance via a two-RBI double in the eighth.
Loney finished 2-for-4 in the victory.
Bauer's control problems were pronounced early on, with the rookie walking the first four Tampa hitters to force in a run during a shaky opening inning in which he labored through 31 pitches.
He issued three more free passes while averting any damage in the third, but couldn't escape unscathed in the fourth after Johnson followed a Jose Molina single by belting a hanging slider just inside the right-field foul pole for a 3-0 Rays' lead.
Cobb, meanwhile, had few hiccups in navigating through Cleveland's struggling lineup. His only pressure situation came in the third inning, after Ryan Raburn led off with a single and Lou Marson drew a walk before Raburn reached third on a fielder's choice grounder.
The Tampa hurler got the dangerous Asdrubal Cabrera to pop up to short, however, then retired Jason Kipnis to end the threat.
Cobb allowed just two hits and a walk the rest of the way prior to being removed for Joel Peralta after getting the first out of the eighth.
Matt Albers replaced Bauer to begin the bottom of the sixth and was promptly greeted by a double by Yunel Escobar, who raced home for the Rays' fourth run when Shelley Duncan singled on the next pitch.
Tampa closed out the scoring with a pair of runs off Cody Allen in the eighth. Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria each singled in front of Loney, who laced a two- base hit into the gap in left-center to plate both runners.
"Sometimes the hitting is not as consistent, but as cold as some guys get, they'll get just as hot," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Marson left the game in the bottom of the third after suffering a neck strain after colliding with the Rays' Desmond Jennings at home plate. The Indians were forced to shift designated hitter Carlos Santana behind the dish and bat the pitcher in the No. 9 spot in the order for the rest of the game ... Kazmir, who pitched six seasons for the Rays from 2004-09 and ranks second in franchise history in strikeouts (874) and innings pitched (834), was officially placed on the 15-day disabled list prior to the game with a strained right rib cage ... Tampa Bay has yet to commit an error through its first five games, the longest such to begin a season in club history ... Rays ace David Price, who will take the mound in Sunday's series finale, was presented with his 2012 AL Cy Young Award during a pregame ceremony.