- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

DUNEDIN, Fla. (AP) - Alex Cobb tossed three scoreless innings as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 6-3 on Friday.

Cobb, who did not allow any runs over 1 2-3 innings in his first start against Minnesota, gave up two hits, struck out one and walked one.

“I liked being able to throw a lot of first-pitch curveballs for a strike and also in the dirt for swings and misses and changeups as well,” said Cobb, who threw 47 pitches.

“Like the last outing, my fastball location isn’t exactly where I want it, but I can see that trending in the right direction, so I’m happy with that,” he said.

The right-hander allowed back-to-back singles to Melky Cabrera and Jose Bautista in the first, but then retired eight straight batters, seven on groundballs. Cobb was pulled one batter into the fourth.

“His ball really moves,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “I can’t even imagine it in the batter’s box, but from the side, you could see. And then the hitters reflected that by how they were making contact or no contact against him.”

Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle made his second start of the spring. The left-hander gave up one run and four hits in three innings.

Kevin Kiermaier hit a two-run homer in the Rays fourth. Wil Myers added an RBI single in the fifth.


Blue Jays: Buehrle threw 45 pitches, struck out two and walked one. The four-time AL All-Star said he has not felt better on the mound since last season.

“Today was the best I’ve felt,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing to take out of today. Health-wise, I felt great. I was pounding the strike zone and felt like everything was working for me.”

Rays: Cobb worked with catcher Ryan Hanigan for the first time in a game.

Hanigan is in his first year with the Rays after he was traded to Tampa Bay in December from the Cincinnati Reds in a three-way deal. He said his main objective was to use the time to build confidence and get on the same page with Cobb.

“I felt like it was good,” Hanigan said. “There was one situation where I wasn’t going to let him go to something and he agreed with me and it worked out. Just that helped build a little bit, like, ‘OK, (he) can trust (me) with what I’m doing. Stuff like that is huge.”


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