Record-setting jacks back Cobb, claim series

Record-setting jacks back Cobb, claim series

CLEVELAND -- While Rays starter Alex Cobb limited the damage on Wednesday afternoon, Tampa Bay's offense did plenty of its own in a 7-4 win over the Indians at Progressive Field. Behind three more home runs, the Rays took two out of three in the series against Cleveland.

"Obviously a great series," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "It's a pretty challenging task to go into Boston and come here and find a way to have a winning road trip. I'm really happy and proud of the way the guys went about it, especially after losing the first game here."

Rookie Bradley Zimmer highlighted the Indians' offense with a home run and RBI double -- both firsts for the team's top prospect.

Corey Dickerson led the charge for the Rays' offense, launching a three-run home run that helped send Tribe starter Josh Tomlin to an early exit. Logan Morrison and Jesus Sucre also went deep for Tampa Bay to give the club 10 home runs in the three-game series, and 59 shots on the season.

Morrison's solo home run

The 10 homers established a Rays record for a three-game set. The previous mark of nine was achieved twice during the 2013 season (April 16-18 on the road against the Orioles, and again on June 10-12 at home against the Red Sox).

Rays set club record for homers in a three-game set

Cobb picked up the win after holding the Indians to three runs on six hits over seven innings, in which he struck out seven and walked one. Zimmer delivered an RBI double off Cobb in a two-run outburst in the third, and Michael Brantley later added a run-scoring double of his own in the fifth. Zimmer came through with a solo homer to center off Alex Colome.

Brantley's RBI double

"Today is the best I've felt since I came back from surgery," said Cobb, referring to his 2015 Tommy John surgery. "Just the ability to get to another level of aggressiveness over the rubber, and feeling compact and driving to certain directions. It all felt really good. It's the feeling I've been looking for."

One day after righty Danny Salazar allowed five runs (four on solo homers) against the Rays, Tomlin was chased after giving up six runs on seven hits in 2 1/3 innings for the Tribe. Dickerson's home run (No. 9 on the year) punctuated a four-run second inning, and Morrison later came through with his solo shot (No. 11) in the third. Sucre went deep off reliever Shawn Armstrong in the ninth.

Sucre's solo home run to left

The game ended when Kevin Kiermaier robbed Jason Kipnis of a home run with an incredible leaping catch in center field.

"The wind was doing crazy things this whole series, and I just wanted to give myself a chance," Kiermaier said. "Do I want to try climbing the wall right now, or do I jump? I just chose to jump, and thankfully I caught the ball at its highest point."

Must C: Kiermaier robs home run

Another Corey blast: Tomlin struck out five batters in a row between the first and second innings, but he then ran into a heap of trouble. The Rays connected for four straight hits -- capped off by Dickerson's three-run homer to right. Dickerson's shot came on a low-and-in fastball, marking his third homer in the past two games on similar pitches. Heading into Wednesday, Dickerson was batting .375 with a 1.000 OPS on fastballs to that area of the strike zone, per Statcast™.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for Dickerson and other #ASGWorthy players

"You make a mistake to probably the hottest hitter on their team," Tomlin said. "He put a good swing on it and hit the ball a long way."

Caught looking: The Indians struck for two runs in the third and then loaded the bases with two outs for slugger Edwin Encarnacion, who entered the day in a 2-for-22 slump. Representing the tying run at the time, Encarnacion watched an outside fastball from Cobb on a 1-2 count. It was a borderline pitch, but home-plate umpire Ben May ruled it a called third strike, halting the Tribe's rally.

"I think [Encarnacion] got a little overanxious, the one at-bat with the bases loaded," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He took a called third strike that was off the plate. That's kind of how it goes sometimes. He expanded early and took the one he was supposed to, and then got called. Those things happen."

"They strung together one or two hits that kind of fell in. Like a shark smelling blood, they just kind of started swinging. I left the ball over the heart of the plate on a couple of those pitches, and they put good swings on them." -- Tomlin

"We're coming out of here on a huge high. We're pumped with the way this road trip went." -- Cobb, on the fact the Rays won two out of three games in Boston and Cleveland on the road trip

Cobb's strong outing

The Rays completed their first winning road trip in a year, as they had posted losing records in 11 consecutive road trips dating back to a Toronto/Detroit/Miami swing from May 16-24, 2016.

Playing in front of his parents and grandmother, Zimmer got a handful of career firsts out of the way in the third inning. The lefty-swinging batter sent a pitch from Cobb off the wall in left field for a double (first hit) that scored Lonnie Chisenhall (first RBI). Two batters later, Zimmer hustled home on a single to left field from Kipnis, diving headfirst across the plate for his first Major League run. He cleared the center-field fence in the ninth for his first career home run.

Zimmer's first Major League hit

"After I hit the double in the first [at-bat], I was able to kind of take a step back and relax," Zimmer said. "Getting that first home run out of the way was huge, and I had some good at-bats the rest of the day and I had a couple good swings. Good day." More >

With two outs and runners on first and second in the third, Cobb threw a fastball inside to Carlos Santana, who tried to jump out of harm's way. The pitch was initially called a ball, but Santana began to head to first, indicating that the pitch struck him on the right shin. The Indians challenged the call, which was overturned following a replay review lasting one minute and 11 seconds.

Santana reaches after challenge

Rays: Erasmo Ramirez (2-0, 2.92 ERA) will start for the Rays Friday in a 7:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field against the Yankees. Ramirez has started just one game this season, but he'll slide back into the starting rotation in the aftermath of Blake Snell getting optioned to Triple-A Durham.

Indians: Following an off-day on Thursday, the Indians will open a three-game road series with the Astros with an 8:10 p.m. ET tilt on Friday at Minute Maid Park. Right-hander Trevor Bauer (3-4, 6.92 ERA) will take the mound for the Tribe, opposite Charlie Morton (5-2, 3.97 ERA). Bauer is 5-0 with a 1.97 ERA in five career starts against Houston.

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Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and Facebook.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.