by Steve Carney
Alex Cobb threw into the seventh, and Tampa Bay hitters used a three-run first inning to help take the rubber match of their series with the Colorado Rockies 8-3 Sunday.
Tampa Bay took advantage of a rusty start by Jhoulys Chacin. Desmond Jennings led off with a single, moved up a base on a walk to Matt Joyce, took third on a flyout by Evan Longoria, and scored on a base hit by James Loney. A wild pitch by Chacin then plated Joyce for a 2-0 lead, and a single by Kelly Johnson made the lead three runs.
Colorado's damage off Cobb all came in the form of the leadoff solo home run. Michael Cuddyer blasted one in the second inning to make it 3-1. Troy Tulowitzki added one in the fourth to cut the lead to a single run at 3-2.
The Rays extended their lead in the sixth, as Joyce walked to leadoff the inning. Loney's single two batters moved him up a base, and Johnson's single plated Joyce for a 4-2 lead.
A passed ball moved both runners up, and both would score on a double by Ryan Roberts.
Nolan Arenado's solo shot with two out in the seventh ended Cobb's afternoon. He allowed three runs on eight hits, walking one and striking out six to improve to 4-2 on the year.
Jake McGee finished the seventh by striking out Carlos Gonzalez.
Jose Lobaton's two-out, two-run single in the eighth set the score at 8-3.
Joel Peralta pitched a scoreless eighth inning, and Jamey Wright struck out the side in the ninth to finish the game.
Tampa Bay returns home Monday to open a series against the Toronto Blue Jays, as Mark Buehrle (1-2, 6.43 ERA) takes on Jeremy Hellickson (1-2, 4.71 ERA) at 7:10 Monday.