Alex Cobb goes 8 strong, Rays outlast Pirates in 10 innings
PITTSBURGH (AP) — David Freese was thinking about throwing the ball before it was in his glove. He never got the chance to wing it.
Freese misplayed a groundball at third base, allowing Steven Souza Jr. to score in the 10th inning and giving the Tampa Bay Rays a 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
With Souza at first base and no outs, Wilson Ramos hit a hard grounder off Felipe Rivero (3-2) that Freese missed while trying a backhand stab. Adeiny Hechavarria added a sacrifice fly in the inning, giving him two RBIs in his first game since being traded from the Miami Marlins on Monday.
Freese was anticipating his throw to second base when the ball skipped right by him.
“I just booted the ball,” he said. “It was good (hop). I just chose to backhand it, thinking it would give me a stronger throw wherever it was going. I just botched it.”
The Pirates were no-hit through six innings by starter Alex Cobb, but Andrew McCutchen forced extra innings with a two-run double down the left field line in the ninth.
Tommy Hunter pitched the 10th for his first save of the season.
Cobb allowed two hits with four strikeouts over eight scoreless innings. He lost his no-hitter when Josh Harrison led off the seventh with a single. Harrison also had a walk in the fourth.
“It all starts with Alex Cobb,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Just an outstanding performance by his part and he was dominating. That’s probably the best way to put it. A lot of soft contact. He made big pitches.”
With the Rays leading 1-0, McCutchen followed Harrison’s hit with a single to right, which gave the Pirates runners on first and second with no outs. Pittsburgh failed to take advantage, as Josh Bell hit into a double play and Freese grounded out to third.
“I guess people do get locked in and don’t realize (they have a no-hitter going), but you know when you gave up your first hit of the game,” Cobb said. “I was aware of it, but I didn’t really think I had the stuff tonight to really maintain it.”
The Rays extended their lead when Hechavarria drove in Tim Beckham in the eighth.
Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams also impressed, outside of a rough fourth inning.
After getting through the first three innings on 27 pitches, Williams struggled with his command in the fourth, leading to the Rays’ opening run. Corey Dickerson singled to right and later scored on Souza’s groundout.
Williams allowed two runs and six hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings. He struck out the side in the fifth and forced Evan Longoria into an inning-ending double play in the sixth.
“There’s a lot to like (about Williams’ outing),” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. The pitchability factor. That he pitched into the eighth inning. … It was a really good night for him on the mound.”
The Pirates moved McCutchen to the third in the order, with Gregory Polanco sliding to sixth. McCutchen was 2 for 4 with two RBIs. In 28 games batting sixth, he hit .380 with eight home runs after his average fell to .200 on May 23.
“Just because I’m in a different spot doesn’t mean the swing changes,” McCutchen said. “You have to have the same approach. I’m not deviating from what I’ve been doing. I’m just keeping the same approach, maintaining it and had some good at-bats.”
Rays: LHP Blake Snell and LHP Adam Kolarek were recalled from AAA Durham. RHP Austin Pruitt and LHP Jose Alvarado were optioned to Durham. CF Kevin Kiermaier (hairline fracture in right hip) was transferred from the 10-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.
Pirates: LHP Antonio Bastardo was activated from the 10-day disabled list. A left quadriceps strain has kept him out since April 24.
Rays: Snell (0-4, 4.71 ERA) will look for his first win in his ninth start of the season Wednesday. He last pitched May 13, when he allowed six runs and six hits against the Boston Red Sox.
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (7-5, 3.06) will make his 16th start. He allowed four runs and 11 hits in seven innings in his last start against the Milwaukee Brewers on June 22.