ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Alex Cobb appears to have avoided a major injury in his latest start.
Cobb left after two innings of the Tampa Bay Rays' 2-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners with a bruised lower right leg on Saturday night.
Cobb made a nifty play after taking Ichiro Suzuki's second-inning grounder off his leg. The right-hander chased down the ball after it went toward the plate and flipped it to catcher Jose Labaton, who tagged out Carlos Peguero as he tried to score from third.
``Right in between the fibula and the tibia,' Cobb said. ``Fortunately it got all muscle, no bone, so there's no fracture. I should be fine (for my next start).'
Cobb went down to the ground after the inning-ending play and needed assistance to leave the field. He allowed two runs, three hits and two walks in two innings.
``Once they saw me on the ground, I figured I probably wasn't going to be able to get back out,' Cobb said. ``But I'm probably very fortunate that it wasn't fractured.'
X-rays were negative.
Jason Vargas took a shutout into the seventh inning and Michael Saunders had two RBIs for the Mariners.
Vargas (10-7) gave up one run and seven hits in six-plus innings as the Mariners stopped a nine-game losing streak against the Rays.
Seattle loaded the bases with two outs in the first and took a 2-0 lead on Saunders' line single to left off Cobb (4-7).
Tom Wilhelmsen, the fourth Seattle reliever, pitched the ninth for his ninth save.
Desmond Jennings singled against Vargas leading off the seventh and scored to cut deficit to 2-1 when Suzuki made a bad throw from right field to third attempting to record an out on Labaton's single.
``That's been our biggest problem this year, the inability to win some close ones based on being able to score the runs we needed to,' Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Cesar Ramos, recalled from Triple-A Durham after Tampa Bay placed designated hitter Luke Scott on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique injury, replaced Cobb and gave up two hits and struck out six over four scoreless innings.
``That's as good as I've ever seen him pitch,' Maddon said. ``Cesar permitted us a solid chance to win that game.'
Ramos was optioned back to Durham after the game. A corresponding move will be announced Sunday.
Four Tampa Bay relievers combined for seven shutout innings.
Notes: Seattle OF Franklin Gutierrez (concussion) has experienced headaches and has been shut down from working out until being evaluated on Monday. ... Tampa Bay RHP Jeff Niemann threw 25 pitches, pushing off at 50 to 75 percent, in his first bullpen session since breaking his right fibula in mid-May. ... Mariners RHP Erasmo Ramirez (right elbow flexor) threw a simulated game and is scheduled to start a minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday. ... Rays 3B Evan Longoria, out since May 1 with a partially torn left hamstring, lightly ran the bases and fielded grounders. ... Tampa Bay INF Ben Zobrist's game-winning hit in the 14th inning Friday night was changed from a double to a triple.
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