ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A home-plate collision overshadowed a strong performance by Alex Cobb.
Cobb scattered four hits in 7 1-3 innings, Kelly Johnson homered and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Cleveland Indians 6-0 on Saturday night.
Indians catcher Lou Marson left the game in the fourth with a cervical-neck strain, when he had a jarring collision with Desmond Jennings.
“It was clean,” Marson said. “He got me pretty good. He had nowhere to go. I had the plate blocked pretty good, but it’s just my neck is a little sore.”
Marson said tests showed he does not have a concussion.
Jennings walked leading off the third, stole second and third before being thrown out at home on Matt Joyce’s grounder. Jennings slammed hard with Marson, who held onto third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall’s throw.
“A chopper … I thought I could beat the play home,” Jennings said. “I looked if I could go either way and I couldn’t. My only play was to do what I did.”
Marson was replaced by designated hitter Carlos Santana. The moves forced Indians starter Trevor Bauer into the lineup. He struck out in the fifth.
It’s a good baseball play,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He held his ground, he held the ball and he took a jolt.”
Both benches were warned by the umpires in the seventh when Cody Allen hit Rays cleanup hitter Evan Longoria in the buttocks with a pitch, which Tampa Bay felt was intentional.
“I was actually cleaning my glasses at the time, so I didn’t see it firsthand,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “So then I heard about it, and it’s pretty much a consensus opinion that he did it intentionally. However, I will say one thing unequivocally, I know it did not come from Tito (Francona). He would not do that.
“I know it was a clean baseball play that did not deserve that kind of retaliation,” Maddon added. “The concern that they should have over there is that’s how you get players hurt on your team. For me, it had to come from one of the players, and I would absolutely point to the bullpen.”
Cobb (1-0) struck out six and walked three as the Rays blanked Cleveland for the second consecutive game. Joel Peralta and Cesar Ramos completed a five-hitter.
The Rays won the series opener when Matt Moore and three relievers combined on a two-hitter in a 4-0 win on Friday night.
“Cobbie pitched unbelievable,” Johnson said. “Two shutouts in a row is pretty cool.”
Tampa Bay got its first hit when Jose Molina had a one-out single in the fourth. Johnson followed with a two-run homer that put the Rays up 3-0.
Bauer (0-1) had control problems in his Cleveland debut, walking his first four batters and seven overall in five innings. The right-hander, obtained in an offseason trade with Arizona as part of a three-team deal and recalled before the game from Triple-A Columbus, gave up three runs, two hits and had two strikeouts during an 105-pitch outing.
Longoria drew the Rays’ fourth straight walk in the first to make it 1-0. Bauer avoided further damage when James Loney hit a foul pop to third, and Indians right fielder Ryan Raburn caught Yunel Escobar’s liner and threw out Joyce as he tried to score from third base.
“I’ve got the bases loaded and one run’s in and I still don’t have an out … Uh-oh!” Bauer said. “It was a struggle for sure, but I did make some good pitches in key situations and got out of some jams.”
Bauer made the spot start in place of left-hander Scott Kazmir, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right rib cage muscle.
Shelley Duncan had a sixth-inning RBI single, and Loney drove in a pair with a double in the eighth.
Cleveland had two runners on in the both second and third innings, but failed to score after going 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position.
Indians reliever Matt Albers was ejected by second base umpire CB Bucknor after the right-hander pitched the sixth inning.
NOTES: Tampa Bay LHP David Price was presented with his 2012 AL Cy Young Award before the game. “He was just disgustingly consistent last year,” Maddon said. … Price (0-0) and Cleveland RHP Justin Masterson (1-0) are the scheduled starters for Sunday’s series finale. … Indians RHP Carlos Carrasco, currently serving a six-game suspension dating from July 2011, had a bullpen session and will start Tuesday against the New York Yankees. … Tampa Bay RHP Jeff Niemann, placed on the 15-day DL Friday with right shoulder soreness, said he will get a second opinion in Texas on Monday. … Francona expects 1B-DH Jason Giambi (lower back strain) will be activated from the DL Tuesday.