- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 23, 2014

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Tampa Bay pitcher Alex Cobb threw 10 pitches off the mound on Tuesday and was unhappy.

“It was horrible,” Cobb said. “I was not looking forward to coming into tonight.”

However, he was very glad he made the start Wednesday night.

Cobb struck out 10 and drove in a run with his first major league hit, leading the Rays to a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, the Rays’ seventh straight win.

Cobb (6-6) blanked the Cardinals on five hits over seven innings. It was the fourth time this season he has thrown at least seven innings without an earned run. Cobb missed 50 games last season with a concussion after he was hit near the right ear by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City’s Eric Hosmer.

“Tonight was the best I’ve felt on the mound hands down since I’ve come back and even before that,” Cobb said. “When my mechanics are right, all my pitches play off each other.”

St. Louis manager Mike Matheny agreed.

“You could tell right from the top, he had a good split working today,” Matheny said. “The guys had trouble laying off it below the zone. Their timing was right on it and it was just disappearing below the bat. He was locked in with it.”

All three Tampa Bay pitchers were locked in, finishing with 15 strikeouts.

Jake McGee pitched the ninth inning for his ninth save in 10 opportunities.

The Rays have won 25 of their last 36 games and are 13-4 in July. On June 29, they had the worst record in the majors and have passed 11 teams since.

Tampa Bay completed its road trip at 5-0 and its eight-game road winning streak ties the franchise record set twice. The loss was the third straight for the Cardinals.

“We played well. We had a great vibe in the dugout,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.

St. Louis starter Lance Lynn (11-7) had won three straight and was 4-1 in his last five home starts. He struck out seven and gave up six hits in 6 1-3 innings. Lynn walked three, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch but stranded seven runners in the first five innings.

“I threw the ball well, I just gave up a couple too many with the way he was throwing the ball,” Lynn said. “Some nights, you get outpitched.”

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