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Cobb dazzles with a dozen punchouts

Right-hander allows three runs over seven innings against Orioles

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Following impressive starts from Orioles newcomer Ubaldo Jimenez and Rays righty Alex Cobb, the Orioles-Rays game ended after 10 innings in a 3-3 standoff on Saturday at Charlotte Sports Park.

Jimenez fell into an early hole when Rays first baseman James Loney connected on a two-out, two-run homer to stake Tampa Bay to an early lead in the opening inning. Jimenez would settle in from there, blanking the Rays for the next five innings in his third Grapefruit League start since joining the team.

"Yeah, it was important [to settle in]," Jimenez said. "They have a pretty good lineup. If you close your eyes for a second, they might score five or six runs right away. But I was able to get back on track and got in a good rhythm."

The veteran right-hander finished the day allowing just the two runs off five hits, while striking out one and walking one. He also became just the second O's starter to pitch six full frames this spring, accomplishing the feat one day after Miguel Gonzalez did so against the Braves.

Rays righty Alex Cobb looked nearly unhittable at times. Cobb struck out the first three batters he faced en route to notching 12 total punchouts over seven innings of work. Between all the strikeouts, however, Cobb gave up three runs on a few hard-hit balls and defensive miscues.

"He was outstanding," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Great movement on everything -- fastball, curveball, the changeup or splitter, whatever you want to call it, was really, really good. Everything that he's been working on was really sharp today."

After Cobb struck out the side in the first, the Rays jumped to an early lead in the bottom half of the inning. Jimenez quickly retired the first two hitters he faced, before Evan Longoria reached on a single and Loney followed with his blast.

The O's wasted no time answering, as left fielder Delmon Young led off the second inning with a homer of his own to cut the lead to one. Two innings later, the Orioles started their game-tying rally when Henry Urrutia roped a line drive that just narrowly got over the head of center fielder David DeJesus, who took one step in before retreating to try to make the catch.

Young followed with a hard-hit single that skipped over the glove of shortstop Yunel Escobar, putting runners on the corners with nobody out. Baltimore ultimately settled for just one run in the frame, tying the game when Steve Clevenger grounded into a run-scoring double play.

Baltimore took its first lead in the fifth -- thanks, in part, to a helping hand from the sun. Leading off the inning, shortstop Alexi Casilla lifted a fly ball to shallow left field that ultimately fell in when left fielder Brandon Guyer appeared to lose track of the ball in the sun.

Casilla then moved to third on a Quentin Berry groundout and scored one batter later when Michael Almanzar singled to left field, giving the O's a 3-2 lead.

It remained that way until the bottom of the ninth, when Alejandro Segovia singled to left field off O's righty Evan Meek, plating Jonathan Quinonez.

Up Next: The Rays hit the road Sunday to take on the defending champion Red Sox in Fort Myers, Fla. Left-hander Matt Moore is slated to start for Tampa Bay, starting opposite fellow southpaw Felix Doubront. Sunday's game could also mark the return of outfielder Matt Joyce, who has missed the last three games due to a stiff neck. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET. Watch the game live on MLB.TV.

Paul Casella is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @paul_casella.
Read More: Tampa Bay Rays, James Loney, Alex Cobb