Cobb, Zobrist lead Rays over Brewers
St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Alex Cobb gave up just three hits and had a season-high 12 strikeouts in eight innings to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday.
Ben Zobrist hit a solo homer and delivered a go-ahead RBI double in a four-run eighth inning for the Rays, who have won the first two games of the three-game series and 11 of their last 12.
Cobb (7-6) remained unbeaten in his last six starts with 39 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings. He gave up two walks, a run and reached double digit strikeouts for the third time since June 13, when he got 11 against Houston.
Cobb struck out 10 in seven shutout innings against the Cardinals in his last start last Wednesday.
"That was equally as impressive as his game in St. Louis," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "He had great stuff. The changeup was falling off the table."
Matt Garza was good in seven innings against his former team, but not as good as Cobb. Garza gave up five hits, including Zobrist's homer, and two walks in his second career start against the Rays.
The NL Central-leading Brewers have lost four of their last five.
Will Smith (1-3) relieved Garza to start the eighth and surrendered a leadoff walk to Sean Rodriguez, who went to second base on Desmond Jennings' sacrifice bunt and moved up on a wild pitch.
Zobrist stroked a 3-2 slider into the left-field corner to score Rodriguez for a 2-1 lead. Zobrist scored on Logan Forsythe's pinch-hit double and Brandon Guyer's bases-loaded single plated a run. The fourth run in the inning scored when Cole Figueroa, batting after Yunel Escobar was ejected, hit a sac fly.
Grant Balfour struck out two in a perfect ninth, giving the Rays 14 Ks in the game.
Cobb had five strikeouts and retired the other five batters on ground balls before Jonathan Lucroy got Milwaukee's first hit with a one-out single in the fourth inning.
The Brewers took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning on Scooter Gennett's sac fly to score Aramis Ramirez, who led off the inning with a single, moved up on a walk to Khris Davis and went to third on a Mark Reynolds sac bunt.
Zobrist teed off on a 95 mph fastball with two outs in the sixth, driving it into the right-field seats for his ninth homer of the season and a 1-1 tie.
"He stayed inside...and I paid for it," Garza said of his gopher ball.
Home plate umpire Bill Welke ejected Escobar in the eighth. TV replays showed Escobar looking down, but talking after a called first strike, presumably to Welke. After the ejection, Escobar slammed his helmet down. A microphone for the TV broadcast picked up Escobar shouting "What? What? What?" over and over ... Cobb's career high is 13 strikeouts set May 10, 2013, against San Diego ... Cobb improved to 5-0 in his last six starts ... Garza went 34-31 in three seasons with Rays from 2008-10. In his only other start against them, he gave up six runs on eight hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings in a road loss last Sept. 16 while pitching for Texas.
07/30 01:34:05 ET