Oak 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
TB 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 X 5 9 0
Date of game: 8/23/2012

Recap: Tampa Bay vs. Oakland

St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb bounced back nicely from a subpar outing, tossing his first career shutout, and the Rays posted a 5-0 win over the Oakland Athletics in the opener of a three-game series between postseason hopefuls.

Cobb (8-8) limited the A's to four hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. The right-hander had tied a career high with eight runs allowed last Saturday against the Angels.

"There was just an excitement all week," Cobb said. "I'm really happy I felt that way toward it instead of being scared and wonder if I'm going to get hit around again."

Tampa Bay improved to 16-5 in August and is closing in on first-place New York. The Rays are 2 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading Yankees.

The Rays did all their damage in the fifth inning, scoring five runs off Oakland starter Tyson Ross (2-9).

Ross was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento to start Thursday's opener in place of Bartolo Colon, who began serving a 50-game suspension on Wednesday after violating the league's drug policy by testing positive for testosterone.

Oakland, one of a handful of teams contending for a wild card spot, lost for the second time in eight games.

Jeff Keppinger singled to begin the Rays' fifth and Luke Scott narrowly missed a home run, doubling off the top of the wall in right field. Ryan Roberts then drove in Keppinger with a sacrifice fly to center. After Jose Molina walked, Sam Fuld lined a run-scoring single to right.

Ross fanned B.J. Upton for the second out, but Matt Joyce plated a pair by doubling into the right-field corner. Evan Longoria capped the offensive surge with an RBI single.

"It's a situation I'm going to have to pitch out of in the future," Ross said.

Game Notes

Oakland shortstop Stephen Drew, acquired on Monday from Arizona, singled in the fourth to snap an 0-for-22 skid ... Ross gave up nine hits, walked two and struck out six over six-plus innings ... This series will conclude Saturday because the Rays' Tropicana Field is going to host a party for the Republican National Convention on Sunday ... Oakland and Tampa Bay split the first six meetings this season.

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