by Steve Carney
The Tampa Bay Rays survived a scary situation to give themselves a chance to earn a .500 homestand.
Luke Scott, Matt Joyce, and Evan Longoria all hit home runs, but a line drive that hit Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb may be the most significant in a 5-3 win Saturday over the Kansas City Royals.
Cobb, pitching with a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning, was tagged on the side of the head by a ball off the bat of Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, who was retired as catcher Jose Lobaton recovered the baseball and threw Hosmer out at first.
Cobb spent about ten minutes on the turf in front of the pitcher's mound before being taken off the field on a stretcher.
Alex Torres then came on and struck out four of the five batters he faced to earn his second win of the season.
Tampa Bay took an initial lead in the bottom of the first thanks to a sacrifice fly by Longoria, but the Royals scored two of their own in the second to take the lead.
The Rays regained the lead for good in the third as Ben Zobrist singled with two out, and Scott crushed a Jeremy Guthrie pitch to deep right-center for his first home run since May 19, and fourth of the year.
Joyce gave Tampa Bay some insurance in the fifth, blasting his 14th home run of the season, a solo shot to right, and Longoria added his 14th of the year, also a solo homer, an inning later.
Jake McGee tossed a score less seventh inning, and Joel Peralta gave up a solo homer to Salvador Perez to cap the scoring, but struck out a pair in the eighth. Fernando Rodney then allowed a two-out single to Alex Gordon and a walk to Hosmer in the ninth, but got Perez to ground out to end the game and cement his 14th save of the year.
The Rays and Royals wrap up their series Sunday afternoon when Roberto Hernandez (4-6, 4.91 ERA) takes on former Ray Wade Davis (3-5, 5.37 ERA). First pitch is set for 1:40, with coverage on 620 WDAE and 95.3 FM starting at 11:30 with the Suncoast Hyundai Dealers Inside Pitch.