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Kiermaier's Defense Keys Rays To Series Win

ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays used a pair of fantastic plays on defense to help Alex Cobb and the bullpen Thursday

Tampa Bay was able to scratch across a run in the bottom of the second innings, loading the bases on Tom Koehler with one out before Robertson lifted a sacrifice fly to left that allowed Corey Dickerson who reached on a fielder's choice, to come home.

The contest remained 1-0 until the bottom of the eighth, when Corey Dickerson gave the Rays some insurance with a solo homer, his 24th of the year, off Danny Barnes.

Meanwhile Cobb worked deep counts almost all afternoon long, and exited one out into the fifth inning with runners at first and second, having allowed just four hits and a walk while striking out five after throwing 94 pitches.

Steve Cishek came on in relief of Cobb, which is when Kiermaier's defensive prowess came up big.  He first robbed Steve Pearce of extra bases with a grab near the centerfield wall, then after Josh Donaldson was walked to load the bases, the Gold Glove outfielder then came in and made a diving grab on Justin Smoak to end the inning.

Brad Boxberger allowed just one infield hit while working the sixth and into the seventh, while Sergio Romo finished the seventh and followed with a perfect eighth.  Alex Colome allowed a base hit to Kendrys Morales in the ninth, but finished out the inning without allowing a run for his MLB-leading 38th save.

The win gets the Rays back to three games under .500 at 63-66 and finishes out the homestand at 3-3 after dropping the first two games.

Tampa Bay now begins a nine-game, three-city road trip that begins with an interleague series with the St. Louis Cardinals.  Jake Odorizzi (6-7, 4.64 ERA) will get the start in Friday's opener against Michael Wacha (9-6, 4.08 ERA).  First pitch is scheduled for 8:15, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 7:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Sykes Lakeland.

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