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Friday, Aug 22, 2014

Rookie Cosart, Astros hold off Rays

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Published:   |   Updated: July 13, 2013 at 12:02 AM

ST. PETERSBURG - David Price sent a tweet to Astros pitcher Jarred Cosart on Friday morning wishing the rookie pitcher good luck and telling him to have fun later that night when Cosart made his major league debut against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
 
Say this about Cosart: He listens well.
 
Cosart took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and outpitched Price, which is saying a lot because Price was outstanding, throwing his second straight complete game.
 
But the story was Cosart, who became the first pitcher in more than a decade to throw at least eight scoreless innings in his major league debut as the Astros snapped the Rays' eight-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory in front of 13,347 at the Trop.
 
"You're not going to win every night in this game," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
 
"We just got slightly outpitched."
 
Barely.
 
Price threw only 87 pitches - 70 for strikes. He didn't reach a three-ball count on any batter. He threw the fewest pitches in a complete game (win or loss) since 1999, the first year complete pitch counts became available.
 
And he lost.
 
"That was one of the most impressive performances that I've seen on the mound," Luke Scott said. "That was kind of like old school days of what guys did on the mound. No messing around, 0-2, 1-2, there's no waste pitching going on. They're getting guys out in the strike zone.
 
"Here it is. Give up a base hit, go right back out them."
 
The 23-year-old Cosart pitched into the ninth inning, leaving after walking pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson to start the inning. That tied for the longest outing of his pro career, which came in 2011 when he went eight innings with the Class-A Clearwater Threshers against the Charlotte Stone Crabs while a member of the Phillies organization.
 
"It was a tremendous start by that guy, so sometimes you've got to just tip your cap, as a hitter, as a pitcher," Price said. "I got outpitched."
 
Cosart said he couldn't sleep Thursday night so he went online to check up on the Rays. That's when he learned of their eight-game winning streak and that he would face Price.
 
Nervous? Cosart said he couldn't throw a strike while warming up in the bullpen.
 
"Heart was going a million miles an hour," he said.
 
You wouldn't have guessed that when the game started.
 
Cosart set the Rays down one after the other, retiring the first nine batters he faced. He walked Desmond Jennings to start the fourth inning and Wil Myers with one out in the fifth but didn't allow a hit until Ben Zobrist bounced one through the right side of the infield with one out in the seventh inning.
 
"I've looked up to (Price)," Cosart said. "I mean, he's one of the best pitchers in the game. My thing is not to go out there and try to be David Price or beat David Price because he's a Cy Young winner, All-Star, all the stuff," Cosart said. "I know if I did that I'd probably overthrow, leave balls up.
 
"I just wanted to go out there and be myself and pitch down in the zone and that worked out well for me."
 
On a side note, Cosart became the first pitcher to make his major league debut against a reigning Cy Young Award winner since Cleveland's Danny Salazar did it ... Thursday.
Salazar faced Toronto's R.A. Dickey, who won the award pitching for the Mets last season.
 
Before that, you have to go back to John Danks of the White Sox, who faced Johan Santana of the Twins on April 8, 2007. Before Danks, it was former Ray Edwin Jackson, who debuted for the Dodgers on Sept. 9, 2003 against Randy Johnson of the Diamondbacks.
 
Salazar and Jackson earned wins in their debuts.
 
All the Rays knew of Cosart was he threw hard. They had no idea he had a cutter, and that cutter is what did them in.
 
"He was throwing balls off the plate on one side and ran them back just on the corner or just off," Scott said. "He didn't really miss with too much out over the plate. Tip your hat. He did a great job, a great job for his team. I'm sure he's pumped. He beat a very good team."
 
Price allowed eight hits, four of them in the first inning, the last of which was a two-run single by Carlos Corporan. More runs scored on that hit (two) than Price allowed in his first two starts (one) since coming off the disabled list.
 
Even with their limited chances, the Rays further hurt themselves by grounding into four double plays, the last one in the ninth when Yunel Escobar erased Johnson.
 
"They're only fun when you turn them," Maddon said.
 
The Rays still managed to make it a game when Jennings reached against Houston closer Jose Veras on a two-out throwing error by shortstop Jake Elmore. Scott singled Jennings home. Fuld, pinch-running for Scott, raced to third on a single by Zobrist.
 
But Evan Longoria looked at a called third strike to end the game.
 
"Having Longo right there is what you want, and we just got beat there, but I love the fight in the group," Maddon said. "It's not going to be an oil painting every night."
 
rmooney@tampatrib.com
(813) 259-7227
Twitter: @RMooneyTBO

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