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Rays notes: McGee records first big-league save

Published:   |   Updated: July 12, 2013 at 06:01 AM

ST. PETERSBURG - With closer Fernando Rodney not available after working three consecutive games, manager Joe Maddon turned to LHP Jake McGee on Thursday afternoon to get the final three outs against the Twins.

McGee took care of the Twins on 12 pitches, striking out the last two batters to earn his first career save in the Rays' 4-3 victory.

"I wasn't really sure. Was that the first one or not? I have two years in the big leagues," McGee said.

Thursday was McGee's 156th career appearance, his 44th this season.

It was also the 24th time in his last 27 outings that McGee has not allowed a run.

Maddon said he was unaware that McGee had never earned a save. McGee said he was glad to finally get one after having pitched in relief for the Rays in all or parts of the past three seasons.

"It does mean a lot for me personally," he said. "It's good to get the win and a sweep, but for me it's good to get the save."

With Rodney a free agent after this season and McGee one of Maddon's high-leverage relievers, it is possible McGee could find himself working the back of the bullpen next season.

"We'll see," McGee said. "I just went out there treating it like the sixth inning or the seventh inning, like when you go out there for a hold, same thing only a different inning. Keeping the mindset like that."

Longoria goes yard

3B Evan Longoria followed Luke Scott's long homer to right field in the sixth inning with a homer to left to give the Rays a 3-1 lead. It was Longoria's first home run since June 22.

It also snapped Longoria's career-long 14-game streak without an extra-base hit.

"I'm really aware of the ebb and flows of a season," Maddon said. "Guys are going to go through those moments. You know when a guy is good that it's going to come back to him at some point."

Cobb improving

RHP Alex Cobb threw another bullpen session Thursday morning, his third since sustaining a concussion and developing vertigo after being struck on the right side of his head with a line drive June 15.

Cobb said he participated this week in pitcher fielding practices and caught pop-ups.

He also stood behind a screen in the bullpen Wednesday while pitching coach Jim Hickey hit line drives at him in an effort to test his reflexes.

"Pretty scary," Cobb said of the line drives. "The first PFP seemed like it came back a lot faster than it did. After three or four it became normal again and it felt pretty good."

Cobb took his third concussion test Wednesday. He won't learn the results for another day or so after Major League Baseball and the players' union have a chance to look at it, but he said his doctor told him he did well.

If he passes, Cobb said he could throw live batting practice Sunday.

Cobb said he still has some vertigo, but said it's not serious enough to keep him off a mound.

As for his return, he is still sticking with late this month or early August.

"I definitely think early August is realistic," he said. "Late July might be a little bit of a push, but might as well set the goals high and hopefully it will happen."

What a kiss

2B Ben Zobrist was headed to the video room behind the Rays dugout late Wednesday night when he saw his son Zion run past the tunnel. With midnight approaching, his wife, Julianna, was taking the kids home. So Zobrist said goodnight to his children and kissed Julianna goodbye.

A few minutes later, Zobrist drove in the winning run in the Rays' 13-inning victory against the Twins.

Might this be the start of something?

"Maybe we should," Zobrist said. "Listen (Julianna), if we ever get to the middle of the 13th, just be down in the tunnel."

Noteworthy

RHP Brandon Gomes (right lat strain) threw another bullpen session Thursday and said everything went well. . RF Wil Myers hit second Thursday and tied his season high with three hits. He is 5-for-9 after sitting out Tuesday. Myers also stole his first career base. . LHP Alex Torres, pitching for the third time in four days, allowed his first inherited runners to score this season. . Scott has a seven-game hitting streak. . The 35 combined strikeouts during Wednesday's 13-inning game were the most ever in a Rays game.

Roger Mooney

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