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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.


“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.


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.”


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.


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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f this was goodbye for Yu Darvish and Texas Rangers fans, it was a rough way to go.

Darvish allowed a career high 10 runs to the Marlins on Wednesday night. It’s the first time he has allowed more than seven runs in any game.

Darvish, a free agent at the end of this season, could be dealt to a contending team in the next few days as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.

He may have scared a few teams with this outing. Darvish’s ERA in his last five starts jumped to 7.20. He has now had two starts this month in which he allowed at least seven earned runs (he allowed seven against the Red Sox on July 4). He had three such starts in his career prior to this stretch.

It was indicative from the first batter that it would not be Darvish’s night. Dee Gordon’s leadoff home run snapped a 413 at-bat homerless streak, the longest active streak among non-pitchers in the majors entering Wednesday.

Darvish in 2017

Darvish was coming off a three-start stretch in which he had a 2.86 ERA, and in his last start prior to Friday, he matched a season high with eight innings in which he struck out 12 against the Rays.

He has pitched well at times this season, allowing one run and one hit in seven innings in a win against the Astros on June 12 and pitching seven scoreless two-hit innings with 10 strikeouts in Yankee Stadium 11 days later.

Globe Life Park in Arlington has been a trouble spot for Darvish this season. He has a 5.38 ERA in 12 home starts this season, compared to a 2.49 ERA in 10 road starts.

Darvish’s career

Darvish was quite good but never quite lived up to the hype after the Rangers won the right to purchase him from the Nippon Ham Fighters for $51.7 million in January 2012. He had a 3.90 ERA as a rookie in 2012 but lost the AL wild-card game to the Orioles. The next season was his best, a 2.83 ERA and a league-leading 277 strikeouts.

But then came an elbow injury that limited Darvish to 22 starts in 2014, knocked him out for 2015 (Tommy John surgery) and a shoulder injury that held him to 17 starts in 2016. He made another postseason start against the Blue Jays last season but lost that as well.

Darvish’s legacy will be strikeouts. His 11.0 strikeouts per nine innings rank best in Rangers history, one spot ahead of Hall of Famer (and Rangers wholesale mlb jerseys legend and former owner) Nolan Ryan.

But if this is it, Darvish ends with eight straight winless starts, the longest winless streak of his career.

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The Colorado Rockies are “aggressively searching” for a right-handed reliever, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Rumor CentralPer Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller, Miami Marlins closer AJ Ramos is a top Rockies target. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that Colorado and Miami are in ongoing discussions regarding Ramos.

Ramos has a 3.76 ERA and 1.28 WHIP cheap mlb jerseys in 39 games this season, recording 46 strikeouts over 38⅓ innings. The 30-year-old is 19-for-21 in save opportunities.

The Rockies — who entered Wednesday atop the National League wild-card standings — aren’t likely to look to Ramos to be their ninth-inning man, as Greg Holland has posted excellent numbers as the team’s closer (1.72 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 31-for-32 in save opportunities). Holland was placed on Colorado’s paternity list Wednesday.

Ramos is eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career in the upcoming offseason and is set to reach free agency in 2019.

Colorado was linked to Ramos earlier this month. Other clubs which have expressed interest in the reliever include the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees, although New York has since traded for former Chicago White Sox closer David Robertson.