ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- David Price
's Twitter feed let the Rays know their teammate was doing well even before he arrived back in the clubhouse to help celebrate a 5-3 win over the Kansas City Royals
on Saturday at Tropicana Field.
Pitcher Alex Cobb, struck behind the ear by a line drive hit by Eric Hosmer
, was awake, alert and joking with nurses at Bayfront Medical Center, said Price, who left the stadium to visit Cobb while the game was still in progress.
"He was laughing. He seemed pretty normal," Price said. "He said (trainer Ron Porterfield) was making him mad because he wouldn't let him stand up."
Cobb suffered a mild concussion, according to the Rays, and passed all neurological tests. Manager Joe Maddon said that seemed unthinkable considering the sight and sound of the spectacle.
"It's awesome he appears to be fine," Maddon said. "The moment it happens, it appears awful."
The fifth-inning sequence was chillingly similar to the May 7 incident at Tropicana Field in which Toronto's J.A. Happ suffered a fractured skull after being hit behind the left ear by Desmond Jennings' liner. If different, it was because Cobb's looked and sounded worse. The ball rolled back toward home plate, where catcher Jose Lobaton made the putout as Porterfield rushed the mound.
"It got him as square as you can get it, and it bounces back to home plate," Price said. "It shows it didn't graze you there."
Cobb crumbled to the turf cradling his skull, but he was alert throughout. He was moving his hands and feet while being removed on a stretcher with his head immobilized, according to the team.
"I honestly didn't even want to run to first," Hosmer said. "I just wanted to see how he was doing. ... It's freaky, scary stuff, man. ... There's a lot of stuff racing through my mind and I just kind of shut down after that happened."
Former Rays Elliot Johnson and James Shields
planned to visit Cobb in the hospital on Saturday night. Johnson said Cobb is one of the best pitchers he has ever seen fielding comebackers, which spoke to the violence of the shot.
"Honestly, he' probably the best pitcher when it comes to comebackers," Johnson said. "You know the ball is just scorched. For him to take a ball off the head like that, it's as scary as it gets." Alex Torres
and Jake McGee shut down the Royals in the middle innings before Joel Peralta took over in the eighth and gave up a solo homer to Salvador Perez
. Fernando Rodney allowed a hit and walk in the ninth but managed to post his 14th save.
Torres improved to 2-0 after not allowing a base runner and striking out four in 1 2/3 innings.
"Alex Torres was ridiculously good again," Maddon said.
Tampa Bay improved to 36-32, ending a three-game losing streak. Kansas City (32-34) had its three-game winning streak broken.
Longoria gave the Rays a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the first inning off Jeremy Guthrie. Ben Zobrist (2-for-4), who had singled with one out and advanced to third on an error and a fielder's choice, scored on the play. The run was unearned.
Kansas City responded with two runs in the second but seemed positioned for more. Mike Moustakas and Johnson began the rally with one-out singles. Alex Escobar and Alex Gordon walked to force home the tying run. Hosmer's sacrifice lineout to center scored Johnson to push Kansas City ahead 2-1.
Scott's fourth homer of the season -- a two-run shot to right field -- gave the Rays a 3-2 lead in the third. Guthrie had retired the first two batters before Zobrist singled.
Joyce's team-leading 14th homer of the season boosted the Rays' lead to 4-2 in the fifth. Longoria joined Joyce at 14 with a solo shot leading off the sixth.
Guthrie (7-4) was charged with five runs (four earned) on eight hits and three walks with three strikeouts in eight innings.
NOTES: Price said he felt "super sore" but in the normal way on Saturday following a bullpen session Thursday. He is expected to play catch Sunday as he works back from a triceps strain that landed him on the disabled list on May 16. "All good soreness," he said. Details for a minor league rehab assignment have not been announced. ... Longoria started at DH for the third straight game because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He hopes to return to the field Tuesday in Boston. ... Entering Saturday, Rays starters were 1-5 in the previous six games and had allowed 32 earned runs in 31 innings, the worst for the franchise in a six-game span since July 21-27, 2007, when J.P. Howell, James Shields, Scott Kazmir, Edwin Jackson and Jason Hammel surrendered 33 runs in 29 2/3 innings. ... The Rays have been picked off base six times, tied with the White Sox for the most in the majors. ... Scott started the series 5-for-5 against the Royals and hit a two-run homer on Saturday after collecting just three hits in his previous 23 at-bats. ... With a first-inning single, Royals C Salvador Perez extended his season-best hit streak to 11 games. ... The Rays did not have a batter strike out, for the first time since 2007.
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