KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Alex Cobb stopped the Kansas City Royals' winning streak at four games, which matches their season high.
Cobb curbed the Royals on six singles in seven scoreless innings and Ben Zobrist had three hits and drove in two runs to help the Tampa Bay Rays beat Kansas City 5-0 Sunday.
The Royals have not had a winning streak of more than four games since Sept. 7-11, 2009, when they won five straight.
``We just didn't come to play today,' said Alex Gordon, who went 0 for 4. ``I don't say this a lot, but we deserved to lose. We didn't do much. We just didn't show up to play.'
The difference was the pitching. Cobb walked none before leaving with a blister on his index finger. Royals pitchers walked four and hit four.
Royals starter Felipe Paulino (1-4), who lost for the fourth time in his past five starts, yielded four runs on seven hits, while walking two and striking out six in 5 2-3 innings.
``He just struggled with his command, especially in the first, second and third innings,' Royals manager Ned Yost said. ``He settled down in the fourth, but he lost it again in the sixth. He had trouble controlling his front side. I thought he had better action on his fastball and slider in the fourth.'
Yost said Cobb's command made him successful.
``He filled it up with strikes,' Yost said. ``He had a good fastball, curveball, and a really good split. Bottom line: they commanded, we didn't. Their guy pitched better than our guy.'
Cobb (3-0) struck out two and walked none to pick up the victory and lowered his ERA to 2.57. He has allowed one earned run in 13 innings in two starts since being recalled July 18.
Relievers Cesar Ramos, Joel Peralta and Jake McGee held the Royals to one hit over the final two innings to finish off the Rays' eighth shutout of the season.
Cobb, a rookie right-hander who was a fourth-round pick in 2006, is unbeaten in his first seven major league starts, the first Rays pitcher to accomplish that.
The Rays scored two runs with two out in the sixth on one hit, a Sam Fuld single, three hit batters and a walk. After Fuld's hit, Felipe Paulino hit Sean Rodriguez and Desmond Jennings with pitches to load the bases. Blake Wood replaced Paulino and walked Johnny Damon, scoring Fuld. Wood hit Zobrist with a pitch to bring home Rodriguez.
The Rays scored a pair of runs in the third with Evan Longoria driving in Damon with a single. Matt Joyce's sacrifice fly scored Zobrist with the other run.
``It wasn't really sharp,' Paulino said of his command. ``I threw too many pitches in the first three innings.'
Cobb did not allow a runner past first base until the sixth, when Matt Treanor and Chris Getz led off with singles. Eric Hosmer and Mitch Maier opened the seventh with singles, but Mike Aviles grounded into a double play.
Notes: Rays center fielder B.J. Upton was held out of the lineup as reports continue to circulate he will be traded by July 31. ``I don't know where I might be going, but I don't want to go nowhere,' Upton said. ``This is just a day off. It's becoming comical for me. It's something new every day. It's gotten to the point where I just don't care. If it happens, it happens.' ... C John Jaso, who is on the Rays' 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain, could join the club Friday in Seattle to workout with the team, but is not ready to be activated. Rays manager Joe Maddon said Jaso probably would need to go on a minor league rehab assignment before returning. ... SS Alcides Escobar, the only Royal to play in all of the first 100 games, and RF Jeff Francoeur were given the day off. Aviles and Maier replaced them. ... The Royals hit four Rays batters to tie a franchise record. It was the sixth time in club history. The Royals hit 10 batters in the six-game homestand.
The Associated Press News Service
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