Braves starter Randall Delgado wipes his head after giving up a grand slam during a 5-2 loss to the Rays on Saturday.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Randall Delgado was done in by too many walks and simply never recovered.
Alex Cobb won his first start of the season, Matt Joyce hit a grand slam and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Atlanta Braves, 5-2, on Saturday.
Delgado (2-4) lasted just four innings, allowing four runs, three hits and five walks.
After Tampa Bay loaded the bases on a pair of a walks and a single in the third, Joyce put the Rays up 4-2 when he sent a 2-0 pitch from Delgado over the center-field fence.
“I was looking for the double play,” Delgado said. “I tried to keep the ball down, but it caught the middle and he hit it.”
Delgado threw just 43 of 84 pitches for strikes.
“His stuff was there,” Braves catcher Brian McCann said. “(Saturday) was just one of those days where he couldn’t locate as well as he wanted.”
The five walks were a career high.
“It was a learning start for him,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of Atlanta’s first-year starter. “Just fell behind hitters. When you’re dealing with a young kid, there’s going to be times like this.”
Cobb (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits in seven innings. He retired his last 10 batters.
Cobb was recalled from Triple-A Durham on Friday night to take the place of Jeff Niemann, who is on the 60-day disabled list with an injured right leg. The 24-year-old righty went 3-2 in nine starts for Tampa Bay last season.
Joel Peralta pitched the eighth before Fernando Rodney got the final three outs for his 13th save.
The Braves had scoring chances in each of the first four innings, but Cobb induced two double-play grounders.
“We kind of let him off the hook I think there early,” McCann said. “Then he fell into a rhythm and he got ahead of everybody after that. The fourth inning, he started really pounding the zone, really trusting his fastball.”
Braves third baseman Chipper Jones was out of the lineup because of a bruised left calf. He took a hard one-hop shot off the bat of B.J. Upton in Friday night’s 5-3 win against the Rays. Gonzalez is hopeful that Jones will be able to play again by Monday.
Sean Rodriguez extended the Rays’ advantage to 5-2 on a sixth-inning solo homer.
Juan Francisco had an RBI single and Eric Hinske hit a sacrifice fly as the Braves took a 2-0 lead in the second.
“You felt like you were in the game the whole time, you really did,” Gonzalez said.
The Rays threatened during the second, but Braves right fielder Jason Heyward caught Will Rhymes’ fly ball and then threw out Carlos Pena, who tried to score from third.
Rhymes returned to lineup after missing two games with a bruised right forearm. He was hit by a pitch on Wednesday, fainted after walking to first base and had to be driven off the field on a cart.
NOTES: Braves LF Martin Prado went 0 for 3, which snapped his 10-game hitting streak. … Delgado has given up two grand slams this season. The other was hit by Arizona’s Gerardo Parra on April 22.… Atlanta RHP Tim Hudson (2-1) and Tampa Bay LHP David Price (6-2) are today’s scheduled starters. Hudson has a 7-1 career mark against the Rays.