The Rays offense has now scored nine runs in the last six games. And yet Tampa Bay has managed to navigate the stretch with a .500 mark.
On Saturday afternoon James Loney's second-inning homer was all the offense Alex Cobb needed for a 1-0 victory over the Reds. Alex Cobb threw seven innings, with Jake McGee and Grant Balfour finishing the job.
Getting his major-league start Kevin Kiermaier made a huge defensive play in the fourth. Joey Votto had doubled to lead off the inning and looked to score on Brandon Phillips, but Kiermaier -- known for his defense -- made a strong throw to easily get Votto. Ryan Hanigan then wiped out Phillips attempting to steal third.
That was about the only drama Cobb faced in throwing 87 pitches. He did not walk a batter while striking out five. McGee set down the Reds in order in the eighth and Balfour did walk Votto with one out before getting PHillips to ground into a double play.
Longoria also made a diving, spinning, from-his-knees play to end the seventh inning and Loney had several fine stops at first base in a stellar team showing.
Loney slammed a homer to right field off Reds starter Alfredo Simon but later Simon would retire 11 straight batters and gave up just five hits in eight innings.
When Rays manager Joe Maddon made the decision to lift Cobb for a pinch-hitter in the eighth, it looked like a good move when Logan Forsythe smacked a leadoff double. But he didn't even make it to third as the top of the Rays order could not produce.
Kiermaier was optioned to Triple-A Durham after the game with the team needing to call up pitcher Erik Bedard.