The Rays are playing host to the San Diego Padres in an inter-league three-game series this weekend, leading off with an Alex Cobb/Edinson Volquez starting pitching match-up tonight. After allowing two runs in the first on solo home runs by Will Venable and Carlos Quentin, Cobb had an interesting third inning.
Venable struck out to lead off the inning, but was able to reach first base safely on a wild pitch third strike. Chase Headley struck out for the first out of the inning. However, Venable stole second base on strike three. Cobb fell behind 1-0 to Quentin, then threw a second-pitch strike as Venable once again stole a base, winding up at third base with one out. Quentin eventually went down swinging. With a 1-1 count to Yonder Alonso, Cobb was called for a balk, allowing Venable to score and bringing the score to 3-0. Shortly thereafter, Alonso struck out swinging.
If you’re keeping score, Cobb’s line for the inning read: 1 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 4 K, 0 BB.
On April 28, Cincinnati Reds lefty Tony Cingrani also struck out four in an inning.
UPDATE: Cobb left the game with two outs in the fifth, having struck out 13 in total. As Corey Brock tweets, Cobb is the first pitcher in baseball history to have 13 or more strikeouts in fewer than five innings. DRays Bay also notes that Cobb’s start breaks a 34-game streak in which Rays starters had gone at least five innings, the second-longest streak since 1916.
Facing an elimination number of one, the Astros staved off elimination in the AL West by beating the Diamondbacks on Friday night by a 6-1 margin. The Rangers suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Angels on Saturday afternoon, which temporarily put the Astros’ fate in their own hands.
Colby Rasmus hit a pair of solo homers and Jose Altuve added a solo shot of his own. Starter Collin McHugh tossed seven innings of one-run ball, limiting the Diamondbacks to six hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Reliever Will Harris allowed a solo home run to Paul Goldschmidt in the eighth, but Luke Gregerson closed out the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Astros trail the Rangers by one game in the AL West and lead the Angels by one game for the second AL Wild Card slot. The Rangers can clinch the AL West on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Astros loss. The Astros can clinch the second AL Wild Card on Sunday afternoon with a win or an Angels loss.
The Yankees lost both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles and lead the Astros by only one game for the first AL Wild Card slot.
If the Astros win and the Rangers lose on Sunday, they will play an AL West tiebreaker in Texas. The winner will win the second AL Wild Card if the Yankees win on Sunday, or the first AL Wild Card if the Yankees lose on Sunday.
If the Astros lose and the Angels win on Sunday, the two teams will be tied for the second AL Wild Card. They would play a tiebreaker in Houston, and the winner would play the Yankees in New York in the Wild Card game.
Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson looked more like Ladainian Tomlinson the way he was running during Saturday afternoon’s game against the Rockies. In the first inning with one out against starter Chris Rusin, Tomlinson hit a fly ball into the right-center field gap at AT&T Park, a great place to go if you’re in the mood for an inside-the-park home run.
Neither Carlos Gonzalez nor Chris Dickerson could corral the ball before it rolled all the way to the 421-foot marker at the fence. Tomlinson motored around the bases, but Gonzalez made a strong throw into cut-off man D.J. LeMahieu, and LeMahieu made a great throw in to catcher Tom Murphy, but Tomlinson slid in safely just ahead of the tag.
It was an exciting play and the hit proved important as the Giants eked out a 3-2 win against the Rockies.