Alex Cobb has talked about how much he has enjoyed pitching for the first time in a pennant race.
On Monday night, with the Tampa Bay Rays facing the possibility of elimination with a loss, Cobb came up with what manager Joe Maddon said was one of his best starts as a pro.
Even so, by the end of the night, Tampa Bay was knocked out of the playoff race when the Oakland A's beat the Texas Rangers.
Cobb worked seven innings of one-run ball, retiring the first 10 batters before giving up the first of the two hits he allowed in Tampa Bay's 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles. He struck out seven.
Maddon said he felt Cobb would pitch well, but ...
"That's a little above and beyond," Maddon said. "Tempo, stuff, strike-throwing, confidence, composure -- everything was going on tonight."
The odd part is that Cobb said he had a horrible pregame bullpen session, but he figured that his adrenaline kicked in once he took the mound. He threw 21 of his first 23 pitches for strikes and took the no-hitter into the fourth.
"I was able to get in the zone a little bit and throw the fastball to both sides of the plate and work with my off-speed," Cobb said.
The victory kept the Rays' tiny playoff hopes alive for a few hours until the A's closed out their win.