Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/2/12

As well as the Tampa Bay Rays' starters have been doing, Alex Cobb didn't want to be the one to mess it up.

So after working out of messy, 25-pitch, bases-loaded first inning, he turned in a solid seven-inning outing as the Rays capped their cross-country road trip with a 4-1 win over the A's at Oakland.

Tampa Bay wound up 6-3 on the trip.

"I think it's kind of like hitting; it's just a contagious thing," said Cobb, who improved to 5-8 with a 4.60 ERA. "You see one pitcher doing good, you want to match him. You definitely don't want to be 'that' guy, to be the weak link in the rotation."

Cobb, who has been filling in for injured Jeff Niemann, had two straight solid starts. On Friday in Anaheim, he allowed three runs in one inning and nothing in his other six.

"That was more what he looked like last year in July when he came up to help us out," manager Joe Maddon said. "Better command of his fastball, he threw some really good curveballs, his changeup had more depth to it. ... That's by far his best back-to-back (starts) to this point."

Cobb did allow a fifth-inning homer Wednesday to Brandon Inge, the first he's given up to a right-handed hitter in the majors.

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