ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Alex Cobb and Ubaldo Jimenez threw only one bad pitch each.The big difference in Tampa Bay’s 5-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday was that there was a runner on base when Evan Longoria hit Jimenez’s pitch out for a two-run homer in the sixth inning and the Rays’ first lead of the game. ADVERTISEMENT “It wasn’t all that bad of a pitch,” Longoria said. “It was one of those situations where I just felt like I could pick a location and the pitch and try and swing to it, and I got the right one.” Jimenez, who had given up only two hits in the first five innings, had 1-0 lead when his inside fastball caught a little too much of the plate. “I wouldn’t call it a mistake because I wanted it inside and it was inside,” Jimenez said. “Looked like he was looking for it and he just put a good swing on it.” Longoria’s 15th home run of the season came after a walk by Mallex Smith. Steven Souza Jr. added another home run and Cobb pitched seven strong innings for the Rays. Souza’s 21st homer of the season came off reliever Darren O’Day in the seventh. Cobb (9-6) gave up one run on four hits with six strikeouts. He has given up two runs or fewer in seven of his last nine starts. Jonathan Schoop’s home run off Cobb had given the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the fourth. “It was a horrible pitch, right down the middle,” Cobb said. “So my thought was missed pitch, home run, turn the page.” It was the team-leading 22nd home run for Schoop, who has driven in runs in nine of his last 10 games. Jimenez (4-7), who lasted a total of 5 2/3 innings in his first two starts against Tampa Bay this season, gave up two runs on three hits in six innings. “He was good, real good facing one of best pitchers in the league,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “He was almost as good as Cobb was.” Longoria had three of the Rays’ eight hits, including an eighth-inning single while the Rays were tacking on a couple of runs against Baltimore reliever Zach Britton. BIG EIGHT The Rays view their upcoming eight-game trip to New York and Houston as a make-or-break point in their season. The four-game weekend series against the Yankees will be “the biggest series of the season, hands down,” Cobb said. “This will be pretty indicative of what kind of team we are,” Longoria cheap jerseys said, “and we’ll definitely get a feel for how we play under pressure.” TRAINER’S ROOM ORIOLES: 1B Chris Davis was back in the lineup after missing two games with a stomach virus. “He feels remarkably better,” Showalter said. “He was pretty sick.” RAYS: RHP Jake Odorizzi was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain but hopes to miss only two starts. “It’s been something I’ve been dealing with, managing, pitching through all season,” Odorizzi said. “Let it cool down.” … OF Kevin Kiermaier (fractured hip) will begin a rehab assignment at Class-A Charlotte on Thursday. UP NEXT ORIOLES: RHP Chris Tillman (1-5) and Texas RHP Andrew Cashner (5-8) are Friday night’s starters. RAYS: RHP Chris Archer (7-6) looks to get Tampa Bay off to a good start to its road trip against LHP CC Sabathia (9-3) and the New York Yankees on Thursday night. “We’re going to display what type team we really are,” Archer said. “I think with how we’ve been playing this year, we’re ready.”
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NEW YORK — Luis Severino is pitching like an ace for the New York Yankees, a year after his severe sophomore slump.Severino dominated reeling Cincinnati for seven innings,Didi Gregorius and Todd Frazier homered and the Yankees beat the Reds 9-5 on Wednesday for a two-game sweep. New York has won consecutive series after going 0-8-2 in series after sweeping Baltimore from June 9-11. The Yankees, one game behind AL East-leading Boston, have stabilized by winning eight of 12 following a 7-19 slide. “Every good team needs that guy that goes out there every fifth day and gives us a chance to win, and cheap jerseys he’s been that guy for us,” CC Sabathia said. Severino (7-4) did not allow a runner past second base until the seventh, when he allowed a pair of unearned runs after Gregorius misplayed Scott Schebler’s leadoff grounder to shortstop. Severino struck out nine — eight swinging — many on a devastating slider. He threw 48 fastballs, 43 sliders and 21 changeups. And he made a nifty barehand grab to throw out Jose Peraza on a chopper for the final out in the seventh. “I thought he threw an outstanding game, and I thought he had command of everything today,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Maybe some of the best stuff he’s had all year long.” Severino was 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in the final two months of the 2015 season but was demoted to the minors for long stretches last year and even sent to the bullpen, finishing 3-8 with a 5.83 ERA with the Yankees. Mixing his pitches and showing better control, he has allowed one earned run in 21 innings since the All-Star break. “If there’s a guy that I haven’t seen before that looks like an ace, it’s that kid,” Reds manager Bryan Price said. “I mean it’s a quick arm, three pitches for strikes, he’ll throw them all in any count, and he throws `em with command. That’s a difference maker. That’s certainly a guy you can build a rotation around.” Gregorius hit his fourth homer in three games for the Yankees, who have won five of six heading into a series against AL rival Tampa Bay. Acquired last week from the Chicago White Sox, Todd Frazier hit a solo homer against Tony Cingrani that capped a five-run seventh , opening a 9-2 lead. “In the pinstripes, hitting a home run on your home turf, basically — you live an hour away. It’s pretty memorable,” said Frazier, who is from Toms River, New Jersey. “I know I’ll be getting a lot of texts from all my Yankee fan friends. It was cool. My parents are happy. Everybody’s happy.” Cincinnati has lost three straight and is 2-11 since the All-Star break. Homer Bailey (2-5) lost his third start in a row, giving up seven runs — five earned — and 10 hits in six-plus innings. Rookie Clint Frazier, taking advantage of playing time while Aaron Hicks recovers from an oblique strain, hit RBI singles in the third and fifth innings, and Chase Headley hit an RBI single in the sixth and scored on Ronald Torreyes’ groundout. Throwing errors by shortstop Jose Peraza and first baseman Joey Votto made the runs unearned. Eugenio Suarez stopped Severino’s scoreless streak at 17 innings with an RBI double in the seventh and scored on Tucker Barnhart’s groundout. Adam Duvall added a three-run homer in the eighth against Luis Cessa.