Playoff hopefuls continue set at Camden Yards
Right-hander Alex Cobb aims for a 10th straight unbeaten start on Tuesday night when the playoff hungry Tampa Bay Rays visit Camden Yards for the second of three games with the Baltimore Orioles.
The Rays hold the No. 1 slot in the AL's Wild Card playoff chase, which they hold by a half-game over Oakland and 4 1/2 games over the Orioles.
Tampa Bay is just a game out of first place in the AL's East Division, where they trail the Boston Red Sox. The Orioles are third in the East as well, 5 1/2 games behind the Red Sox.
In Monday night's opener, David Price didn't put forth a vintage performance, but one still good enough to help the Rays escape with a 4-3 win.
Working out of several jams, the reigning AL Cy Young Award recipient held the Orioles to two runs despite surrendering 10 hits over a stressful five innings. The effort improved Price (7-5) to 6-1 in 10 starts since returning from the disabled list on July 2.
Jake McGee and Fernando Rodney combined for 2 1/3 scoreless frames to protect the one-run lead, with Rodney finishing out the ninth for his 28th save.
Baltimore squandered opportunities all evening long en route to their fifth loss in seven games. The Orioles recorded 15 hits, including three each from Matt Wieters, Danny Valencia and J.J. Hardy, but left 15 men on base.
The Rays made better use of their chances, getting a two-run homer from Matt Joyce and a solo blast out of Evan Longoria that helped deny Chris Tillman his 15th victory of the season. Both players finished with two hits in the triumph, Tampa Bay's fifth in six outings.
The teams entered the series in a flat-footed 135-135 tie in their all-time series, which began in 1998. The Rays won seven of the first 12 games with the Orioles in 2013, including two of three in Florida when they last met from June 7 to 9.
Cobb, a 25-year-old from Boston, was 3-2 on the season after dropping an 8-2 decision at Kansas City on April 30, but he's been unblemished since - winning four decisions in nine starts while the Rays have gone 7-2 with him on the mound.
He boosted his record to 7-2 on Aug. 15 against Seattle with five innings of three-hit, one-run ball in a 7-1 defeat of the Mariners at Tropicana Field.
He last faced Baltimore in his final start of 2012 and earned his 11th win of the season with seven innings of two-hit ball in a 5-3 triumph.
In two career meetings with the Orioles, he's allowed just three runs in 11 2/3 innings and has held Baltimore batters to a .209 average.
He's opposed by second-year Dominican righty Miguel Gonzalez, who'll try for the fifth time for a first win since July 20.
The 29-year-old improved to 8-3 on the season with a 7-4 defeat of the Texas Rangers, but has since gone 0-2 in four starts while watching his ERA climb half a run from 3.34 to 3.84.
He was ripped for six runs and nine runs in consecutive starts against Kansas City and Houston on July 25 and 31, and has since gotten no-decisions in August outings against San Diego and Arizona.
In six career meetings with Tampa Bay, Gonzalez is 2-1 with a 3.97 ERA in 34 innings.