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Cobb brilliant as O's strike early to nip Mets

Righty strikes out seven, allows just two hits over six innings
MLB.com @Britt_Ghiroli

NEW YORK -- This is the kind of Alex Cobb the Orioles have been waiting for. The guy Cobb said himself over and over this spring -- after disappointing starts and lopsided losses -- would ultimately surface.

A new-and-improved Cobb showed up to Citi Field on Tuesday night.

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NEW YORK -- This is the kind of Alex Cobb the Orioles have been waiting for. The guy Cobb said himself over and over this spring -- after disappointing starts and lopsided losses -- would ultimately surface.

A new-and-improved Cobb showed up to Citi Field on Tuesday night.

View Full Game Coverage

Cobb, fresh off an encouraging seven-inning outing against the Nationals in which he held his own against a deep Washington lineup, stymied the Mets. He held a slumping New York lineup to just two hits and struck out seven over six innings of work as the Orioles snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 2-1, series-opening win.

"We've seen bits and pieces of it. ... He's such a perfectionist," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Cobb returning to form. "He has had some good outings, but the sustaining ones like he's been known for, like tonight, that was good for him to see. And it was good for the team because we all know what he's capable of."

Baltimore's big, shiny late-offseason signing, Cobb now has three quality starts in his past four games. He has showcased improved command -- issuing just one walk on Tuesday -- and an ability to limit damage, allowing just one run despite the Mets putting men on second and third to start the fifth.

Video: BAL@NYM: Cobb K's Rosario, strands a runner at third

"Cobb had probably the best curve I've ever seen him have," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "And I've seen him quite a bit."

Cobb's latest outing dropped his season ERA more than half a run (6.19) and, most importantly, gives Baltimore a good look at what it invested four years in.

"I wanted to come out and show and prove [to] the front office and the organization [who put] their trust in me, in this deal, that they made the right decision," Cobb said of living up to his contract. "It was frustrating early on because I felt like I was disproving that in a way. Whenever you're struggling as an athlete, it's tough. It's on your mind, all day, all night. You're trying to search for what it is that gets it back to being you. Tough stretch, but today it got me knowing that I'm on the right path of what I'm looking for."

Cobb got just enough offensive support from a Baltimore team that ranks last in the American League in runs scored.

The Orioles used three consecutive singles in the first, including Manny Machado's 48th RBI into right field, to take an early lead on Mets starter Jason Vargas. Danny Valencia made it 2-0 with a deep sacrifice fly to left field.

Video: BAL@NYM: Machado plates Mancini to open the scoring

Vargas was charged with just those two runs in his five innings of work and the lefty also surrendered a hit to rookie catcher Austin Wynns in his Major League debut.

Wynns, the Orioles' No. 22 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, also did a commendable job behind the plate and said those first-game butterflies didn't go away until Brad Brach recorded his ninth save to end the game.

Video: BAL@NYM: Brach retires Plawecki to earn the save

"The first step, [Adam] Jones took me out there, too. He was like, 'Take it in, kid,'" Wynns said of being out on the field. "I was like, 'Yeah. I'm taking it in.'"

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Twice as nice: The Mets threatened in the eighth after Mychal Givens issued a one-out walk and Valencia's error on Brandon Nimmo's grounder moved first baseman Chris Davis off the bag. But O's reliever Richard Bleier got a double play to quash the threat to keep Baltimore's one-run lead secure.

Video: BAL@NYM: Machado, Schoop combine for a clutch DP

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Wynns' first Major League hit came in his first at-bat in the second inning, as he laced an elevated changeup from Vargas into left field. The O's dugout quickly secured the ball as Wynns' family, who flew from California to be in attendance, quickly got to their feet to cheer.

Video: BAL@NYM: Wynns singles in 1st Major League at-bat

"I don't know what was better, watching him or watching his teammates' reaction," Showalter said. "That was cool. That's one of those things you're glad you're able to be here for that moment. Hopefully, he'll have a lot of other ones."

REHAB UPDATE
Reliever Darren O'Day (right elbow) started a rehab assignment on Tuesday with Class A Advanced Frederick and could return to the team as early as Thursday in Toronto.

HE SAID IT
"She blew me a kiss? Oh my gosh. That's my mom. It was just all smiles. I was like, 'Wow'. Just took a deep breath and took it in and was like, 'Wow.' Words couldn't even describe it. It was just a weight off my shoulders, too. It was incredible." -- Wynns, on his first hit and his family's reaction

"It was fun to be on deck and watch that. It's just a fun experience. Whenever a rookie comes up, it brings back some nostalgia and you think about ... he asked me if I remember my debut like I was a 35-year-old, on my way out. I had to tell him, I'm not that old. It wasn't that long ago. It's just fun to watch him get that joy and excitement that we all had and got to experience." -- Cobb, on Wynns

UP NEXT
The Orioles will send Dylan Bundy to the mound for Wednesday afternoon's series finale against the Mets at 1:10 p.m. ET at Citi Field. Bundy was not crisp in his last outing vs. the Nationals, allowing 11 hits, but he notched a quality start nonetheless. The O's right-hander will face off against the Mets' Zack Wheeler.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

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