Cobb worked out of a pair of significant jams and kept Cleveland off the board by doing what he does best: inducing ground balls. The Indians loaded the bases in the fourth but came away empty after Cobb got Asdrubal Cabrera to ground out into an inning-ending double play. An inning later, the Tribe had runners on the corners with nobody out, but Cobb notched a strikeout and induced a pair of groundouts to escape unscathed.
Just in case Cobb wasn't able to work his magic, Tampa Bay's offense did its part to give him some room to breathe. After Indians starter Danny Salazar dominated the Rays for the first two innings, Delmon Young yanked a first-pitch fastball over the left field wall to lead off the third inning. In the fourth, James Loney and Evan Longoria hit back-to-back singles, setting the stage for Desmond Jennings' two-run double.
The Rays added a late insurance run after a pair of defensive miscues by the Indians.
Nick Swisher, who went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts at the plate, failed to snag a line drive off the bat of Yunel Escobar, allowing a run to score. That came one at-bat after Lonnie Chisenhall booted a ground ball that could have been converted into an inning-ending double play.
Cobb scattered eight hits while walking one and striking out five in his first postseason start. His scoreless postseason performance was the Rays' fourth such effort in franchise history. Cobb joined Scott Kazmir, James Shields and Matt Moore in that category.
Tampa Bay advances to face the Boston Red Sox in the AL Division Series. Game 1 set for Friday at 3 p.m. ET at Fenway Park in Boston. Game 2 of that series will be the Rays' 10th game spanning 12 days in five different cities.