ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Luke Scott, Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria hit home runs on Saturday as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Kansas City Royals 5-3 at Tropicana Field.
The game was notable for a far more frightening reason.
Tampa Bay starting pitcher Alex Cobb was struck behind his right ear by an Eric Hosmer line drive in the fifth inning in a sequence chillingly similar to the May 7 incident at Tropicana Field where Toronto's J.A. Happ suffered a fractured skull after being hit behind the left ear by a Desmond Jennings liner.
Cobb crumbled to the turf cradling his skull and was surrounded by players and medical staff. He was moving his hands and feet while being removed on a stretcher with his head immobilized and remained conscious throughout, according to the team. Cobb was taken to Bayfront Medical Center for evaluation and diagnosed with a mild concussion.
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.
Tampa Bay improved to 36-32. Kansas City 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 Elliot Johnson began the rally with one-out singles. Alex Escobar and Alex Gordon walked in succession 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: Longoria started at DH for the third straight game because of plantar faciitis in his right foot. He hopes to return to the field on Tuesday in Boston. ... Entering play on Saturday, Rays starters were 1-5 in the previous six games and 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 ER in 29 2/3 IP ... The Rays have been picked off on the bases six times this season, tied for the most -- with the White Sox -- in MLB. ... 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.