Recap: Rays end Royals’ 13 game three-and-under streak

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) The

Kansas City Royals wouldn’t typically feel relief after losing a game

and a franchise-record pitching streak.

But once they learned that Tampa Bay

right-hander Alex Cobb sustained only a mild concussion after taking a

line drive to the head, Saturday’s 5-3 loss to the Rays was an

afterthought.

Cobb seemed to be OK after being taken

off the field on a stretcher in the fifth inning. He was hit directly

on the right ear by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City’s Eric

Hosmer.

“I obviously didn’t even want to run

to first,” Hosmer said. “I just wanted to see how he was doing. You hate

to see that, especially Alex having a great year. It’s just scary

stuff, man. I’m glad he’s alright. I know … he’s been talking and

having conversations.”

Cobb put a hand on his head after

being struck. Trainers from both teams and other medical staff

immediately ran onto the field. Cobb could be seen kicking his legs

while being examined on the mound.

“You can’t hit a ball harder than Hos

hit that ball,” said Royals manager Ned Yost. “He hit it so hard (Cobb)

couldn’t even react, and it makes everybody in the stadium sick to their

stomach when something like that happens.”

The Rays announced that Cobb remained

conscious and was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg for

further examination.

Players on both teams had hands on their heads as a stunned silence overtook Tropicana Field.

“I think it kind of deflated the

entire stadium, to be honest. It deflated the benches. There wasn’t a

lot of talk going around because, what is there to say?” said Royals

second baseman Elliot Johnson, a close friend and former teammate of

Cobb. “Things get real really quick, if that makes any sense. The game

isn’t as important as his life, his livelihood and his future.”

The incident came 39 days after

Toronto Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ was also struck, on the same mound,

by a liner against the Rays and suffered a skull fracture. Happ was

discharged from an area hospital the following day.

The sound of the ball striking Cobb –

which sounded like a bat hitting a ball – could be heard in the press

box. Rays players, manager Joe Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey

gathered at the mound during the 11-minute delay. Shortstop Yunel

Escobar was in a squatting position looking down at the ground.

It has been a tough week for Cobb,

who left the team after starting Monday night’s game against Boston due

to the death of his grandmother. He was informed of the death after the

game in which the 25-year old gave up a season-high six runs over four

innings in a 10-8, 14-inning loss to the Red Sox.

Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn said all tests were normal and that Cobb suffered a mild concussion.

Tampa Bay pitcher David Price visited

Cobb in the hospital and tweeted: “Cobber is way more tough than me!!

Laughing at jokes and the name they gave him!! Please keep him and his

family in your prayers.”

Luke Scott, Matt Joyce and Evan

Longoria homered for the Rays, who had lost five of six. Alex Torres

(2-0) replaced Cobb and struck out four over 1 2-3 scoreless innings.

Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 19 opportunities.

Joyce hit a solo homer off Jeremy

Guthrie (7-4) in the fifth that put the Rays up 4-2 and ended the

Royals’ 13-game stretch of limiting opponents to three runs or fewer.

“We’ll see if we can’t start another one tomorrow,” Yost said of the streak.

Guthrie gave up five runs and eight hits over seven innings.

The Royals took a 2-1 lead in the

second when Alex Gordon walked on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and

Hosmer hit a sacrifice fly. Salvador Perez cut the deficit to 5-3 on a

solo homer in the eighth.

Perez extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the first.

It was only the Royals’ second loss

in 11 games, but it certainly didn’t register as much as the relief they

felt knowing that Cobb had not been seriously injured.

“He seemed fine,” said Royals pitcher

James Shields, another former teammate who went over to see Cobb as he

was being wheeled off the field. “He was talking, very comprehensible

… Everything’s looking positive and from everything I’ve heard he has a

laceration on his ear and a concussion. Hopefully it’s just that.”

NOTES: Royals RHP Wade Davis (3-5)

will pitch against his former team for the first time Sunday. “I’m not

going to smile. There’s no smiling,” Davis said. “We’re trying to win

games over here. We’re trying to get in a good position over here.”

Roberto Hernandez (4-6) will start for the Rays. . . . Tampa Bay LHP

David Price (left triceps strain) had a 25-pitch bullpen session and

could start a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday. The AL Cy Young

Award winner may rejoin the Rays in late June or early July.