CHICAGO – Jake Odorizzi struck out nine in six scoreless innings and combined with two relievers on a five-hitter to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-0 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
Evan Longoria drove in a run and scored two. Yunel Escobar added two hits and three RBIs. Ben Zobrist had two hits and scored twice for the Rays, who improved to a major league-best 15-6 since July 12. They will try to complete the three-game sweep on Sunday.
Odorizzi (8-9) gave up three hits and didn’t walk anyone. The right-hander came within two strikeouts of his career high after getting hit hard in a loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
Chicago starter Edwin Jackson (6-12) allowed four runs – three earned – and five hits in six innings. He is 1-5 in his past nine starts.
Cubs prized prospect Javier Baez doubled but had a tough day overall, going 1 for 4 and committing his first error. He had three strikeouts after whiffing four times Friday in his Wrigley Field debut.
The second baseman’s error came when he dropped a throw from Luis Valbuena after the third baseman made a diving stop on a ball hit by Longoria with a runner on first in the sixth inning.
Jackson then walked Matt Joyce to load the bases, and Escobar made it, 4-0, with a two-run single.
The Rays also scored two in the fourth when Longoria doubled in a run and came around on Escobar’s base hit.
Kirby Yates pitched two perfect innings in relief. Jake McGee gave up back-to-back, two-out singles in the ninth to Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro before Valbuena struck out to end the game.
The Rays took a 2-0 lead in a fourth inning that featured some unusual plays.
Zobrist led off with a ground-rule double to the right-field corner off Justin Ruggiano’s glove that stuck in the ivy.
He moved up when center fielder Arismendy Alcantara dove to his left to snag James Loney’s liner and came around on Longoria’s double. Escobar added a two-out RBI single that Ruggiano, apparently unaware of the runner headed home, fielded nonchalantly before making a flat-footed throw to the infield.
Rays: Outfielder Wil Myers (broken right wrist) was scheduled to start a rehab assignment Saturday with Triple-A Durham and serve as the designated hitter.
Cubs: Manager Rick Renteria said newcomer Felix Doubront “looked good” during a bullpen session but had no word on a possible rehab assignment. The left-hander, acquired from Boston before the July 31 trade deadline, is working his way back from a strained left calf.
Rays: Right-hander Alex Cobb (7-6, 3.52 ERA) looks to continue his strong stretch as the Rays wrap up their three-game series against the Cubs. He has allowed two runs or fewer in five straight starts.
Cubs: Left-hander Travis Wood (7-9, 5.08) looks for his first victory in nearly two months. An All-Star last season, Wood is 0-4 with a 6.10 ERA in nine starts since a win at Philadelphia on June 15.