ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Alex Cobb made a successful return from the disabled list exactly two months after being struck in the head with a line drive, and Wil Myers knocked in four runs as the Tampa Bay Rays downed the Seattle Mariners 7-1 Thursday at Tropicana Field.
Cobb (7-2), who suffered a concussion after being struck behind the ear by a liner hit by Kansas City's Eric Hosmer on June 15, was sharp in allowing just one run on three hits in five innings. He struck out six, fanning Nick Franklin to escape bases-loaded peril in his final inning with the scored tied 1-1.
Three Rays relievers limited Seattle to two hits over four scoreless innings as Tampa Bay took two of the three games in the series.
In winning their second in a row and their 16th home game in their past 20, the Rays (68-51) pulled within two games of the Boston Red Sox in the American League East. Tampa Bay leads the American League wild-card race.
Seattle (55-65) lost for the sixth time in nine games.
Myers finished 3-for-4 with two doubles, and Evan Longoria went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer. Sean Rodriguez and Yunel Escobar added two hits apiece for the Rays.
Tampa Bay took a 5-1 lead off Seattle starter Joe Saunders with a four-run fifth inning powered by Longoria's 23rd homer of the season and a double by Myers.
Sam Fuld led off with a single and took second when a Rodriguez pop to center fell between three fielders. Myers knocked in his third run of the game with a two-run double to left, and Longoria mashed the next pitch into the left field stands for a 5-1 advantage.
Saunders (10-12) was charged with five runs on seven hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Raul Ibanez launched his 25th homer of the season into the right field bleachers.
Tampa Bay tied the game at 1 in the third. Fuld, on second after reaching on a fielder's choice and advancing on a bloop single by Rodriguez, scored on Myers' base hit to left.
NOTES: In the latest of Rays manager Joe Maddon's odd pregame team-building ploys, a 20-foot python named "Asia" awaited the team in the clubhouse Thursday. .. Tampa Bay designated INF Ryan Roberts for assignment to make room on the 25-man roster for Cobb. Roberts, 32, was batting .229. ... On Aug. 15, 2012, Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez threw the 23rd and most-recent perfect game in major league history against the Rays. ... Ibanez hit his first homer in 20 games and 83 at-bats since the All-Star break. He needs just four more to tie Ted Williams' all-time record for homers in an age-41 season. ... Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson asserted that RHP Danny Farquhar would remain his closer despite blowing his first save Wednesday after five successful conversions. Farquhar was unavailable Thursday because of his recent workload.