MLB Team Report - Tampa Bay Rays - INSIDE PITCH


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Detroit Tigers left-hander David Price took time while warming up in the outfield before Thursday's game to catch up with Rays right-hander Alex Cobb, his opposing pitcher.

The two long-time friends, and former teammates, hugged.

"Never done that," Price said of embracing an opposing pitcher pre-game. "So that was weird."

But Thursday's pitcher's duel appeared symbolic as a possible passing of the torch. Price, the former Rays ace, threw a complete-game one-hitter, allowing one unearned run. But Cobb, the potential next Tampa Bay ace, was a bit better, with seven shutout innings.

Cobb won seven straight decisions, and is 7-0 with a 1.99 ERA in his last 10 starts.

"When you're pitching as good as he has, you've got to be considered one of the better guys in baseball," Tigers C Alex Avila said.

Cobb has been arguably one of the team's most consistent pitchers the past two seasons, and has the personality to grab the ace role. But Cobb has said each of the starters have the capability of taking that leadership role, and Price agrees.

"They can all do it," Price said. "They all want to be that guy who steps up and does it."

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MLB Team Report - Tampa Bay Rays - NOTES, QUOTES


RECORD: 62-65

STREAK: Won one

NEXT: Rays (LHP Drew Smyly, 7-10, 3.66 ERA) at Blue Jays (RHP Marcus Stroman, 7-4, 3.83 ERA)

PLAYER NOTES:

--RF Kevin Kiermaier made the best defensive play of the day Thursday, arguably a game-saver. With one out and a runner on second in the seventh, the Rays clinging to a 1-0 lead, Tigers center fielder Rajai Davis hit a soft liner into shallow right. Kiermaier raced in to make a diving catch, and the Rays ended up getting out of the inning. Kiermaier appeared to hold his side after the play, and got checked out by the Rays trainer, but stayed in the game. It was a bit of redemption, as Kiermaier dove and missed Tuesday in a similar play in the 11th inning; it turned out to be a triple by Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, who would score the winning run. But Kiermaier, known for his aggressiveness and highlight-reel catches, came through this time. "I was just happy to see that go in the glove right there, especially in a big situation late in the game like that," Kiermaier said. "It was a big relief." Said manager Joe Maddon: "Big, big play by Kiermaier. It could've probably turned the whole thing around."

--OF Brandon Guyer got the Rays only hit of the game Thursday, with his one-out triple off LHP David Price knocking in the deciding run. Price said it was his one mistake of the game, throwing Guyer a backdoor-cutter, a pitch he knows his former teammate likes. It was Guyer's first career triple, and third career go-ahead hit. "I got to two strikes and when I get to two strikes, I try to spread the out and let the ball travel," Guyer said.

--C Jose Molina was a little banged up, which is why rookie C Curt Casali got the start Thursday. Manager Joe Maddon wanted to use all right-handed hitters Thursday against LHP David Price, with Casali the only lefty. Casali ended up getting checked out twice by the training staff, including after getting hit in the mask with a foul ball in the seventh.

--OF Wil Myers went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts in his second game back after missing 70 games due to a right wrist injury. Myers did nearly miss a home run in his final at-bat, hooking a ball just wide of the right-field foul pole in the seventh. Myers, the AL Rookie of the Year, says his confidence is back, and the Rays certainly need his bat in the middle of the order.