Staked with a 3-0 lead right out the gate, Alex Cobb's first-inning struggles paralleled that of his Boston counterpart Drew Pomeranz. Cobb was tagged for four consecutive hits in the frame, and allowed the Red Sox to draw back within one.
After another run padded his lead in the fourth, Cobb again ran into issues that included a two-run home run from Pablo Sandoval as the Rays' first lead went by the wayside.
"I thought Alex [was] very unfortunate early on with the first inning, simply because there weren't a ton of hard-hit balls," Cash said. "Then before you could blink an eye, they've got guys all over the bases. A check swing, a bloop here, but that's baseball. We've got to be able to overcome that.
"I'm thrilled with the way the guys jumped on Pomeranz early, we just couldn't add on."
"It was a weird one," said Cobb, who finished with no strikeouts. "Some situations that I put myself into, or just things that didn't go your way, happened. Without getting any strikeouts, you're going to have more balls put in play, and some more chances for things to get a little weird."
Cobb admitted to lacking a workable strikeout pitch in the outing, a situation that made him turn to his fastball, which often lacked his best command, and a breaking ball he tried to use to pitch to contact.
Though he did allow 11 hits, he departed after five innings with a 5-4 lead.
"It felt like I had no problem getting two strikes," Cobb said. "[I was] just not getting that swing-and-miss pitch.
"You've got to have times in the game where you can rely on your swing-and-miss pitch and I just didn't have that today."
The Rays saw their second lead squandered after Danny Farquhar, who was strong initially, handed over a bases-loaded situation to Xavier Cedeno, who immediately gave up a two-run single to the red-hot Mitch Moreland. Moreland's hit gave Boston a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
"It looked like he left the ball up and over the plate to Moreland, who wasn't trying to do too much. He's pretty much on fire right now and got the best of it," Cash said. "Part of what happened today was guys were down, they just couldn't pitch. So, we had to ask some other guys and probably take them out of their roles a little bit, and it bit us."