St. Petersburg, FL – Alex Cobb handcuffed the New York Yankees on Sunday, helping the Tampa Bay Rays avoid a three-game series sweep with an 8-3 win at Tropicana Field.
"He was wonderful," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said of Cobb.
Cobb (6-2) kept New York off the board for eight innings, but Brett Gardner spoiled the right-hander's shutout bid with a leadoff home run to right field in the ninth.
"He's got one of the best changes, split-change, whatever you want to call it in the game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Robinson Cano then ripped a single to center for the fifth hit off Cobb, who was removed after striking out Vernon Wells. The frame got interesting when Cesar Ramos threw eight straight balls to load the bases before David Adams plated a pair with a double to left.
The rally was shut down by Joel Peralta, however, as the righty fanned Ichiro Suzuki and Jayson Nix to end the game.
Cobb stymied the Yankees in another outing earlier this season, allowing three hits over 8 1/3 scoreless innings on April 24.
James Loney and Sean Rodriguez clubbed two-run homers off New York starter CC Sabathia. Yunel Escobar went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI for Tampa Bay, which snapped a three-game losing streak and a four-game slide at home.
Sabathia (4-4), winless in his last five starts, was tagged for a season-high seven runs on seven hits over seven frames.
The Rays loaded the bases in the second without placing a ball out of the infield. Rodriguez was hit by a pitch, while Escobar and Loney each reached on a fielder's choice. Jose Lobaton blooped a single to center to put Tampa Bay on the board and Sam Fuld lofted a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
Rodriguez took Sabathia deep with two outs in the third, sending a liner just inside the left-field foul pole. Escobar doubled home a run in the sixth and scored on Loney's blast to right-center for a 7-0 game.
David Huff, making his Yankees debut after being claimed off waivers from Cleveland on Saturday, gave up an RBI double to Desmond Jennings in the eighth.
Cobb recorded eight strikeouts and didn't walk a batter ... New York hasn't swept a three-game set at Tropicana Field since Sept. 13-15, 2005 ... The Yankees designated outfielder Ben Francisco for assignment to make room for Huff.