By MARK DIDTLER
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Tampa Bay right-hander Alex Cobb was taken off the field on a stretcher after he was hit on the right ear by a liner off the bat of Kansas City's Eric Hosmer in the fifth inning of the Rays' 5-3 win over the Royals on Saturday.
Cobb put a hand on his head after being struck. Trainers from both teams and other medical staff immediately ran onto the field. Cobb could be seen kicking his legs while being examined on the mound.
The Rays announced that Cobb remained conscious the whole time and was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg for further examination.
Players on both teams had hands on their heads as a stunned silence overtook Tropicana Field after the crowd gasped when Cobb was struck.
It came a month after Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ was also struck by a liner against the Rays and suffered a skull fracture. Happ was discharged from an area hospital the following day.
The sound of the ball striking Cobb -- which sounded like a bat hitting a ball -- could be heard in the press box.
Rays players, manager Joe Maddon and pitching coach Jim Hickey gathered at the mound during the 11-minute delay. Shortstop Yunel Escobar was in squatting position looking down at the ground, while Hickey appeared at time at be nervously pacing near the mound.
It has been a tough week for Cobb, who left the team after starting Monday night's game against Boston due to the death of his grandmother. He was informed of the death after the game in which the 25-year old gave up a season-high six runs over four innings in a 10-8, 14-inning loss to the Red Sox.
Rays spokesman Rick Vaughn said all tests were normal and that Cobb suffered a mild concussion.
Tampa Bay pitcher David Price visited Cobb in the hospital and tweeted: "Cobber is way more tough than me!! Laughing at jokes and the name they gave him!! Please keep him and his family in your prayers."
Luke Scott, Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria homered for the Rays, who had lost five of six. Alex Torres (2-0) replaced Cobb and struck out four over 1 2-3 scoreless innings. Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 19 opportunities.
Joyce hit a solo homer off Jeremy Guthrie (7-4) in the fifth that put the Rays up 4-2 and ended the Royals' 13-game stretch of limiting opponents to three runs or fewer.
Guthrie gave up five runs and eight hits over seven innings.
Scott hit his first homer since May 19, a two-run drive during the third as Tampa Bay grabbed a 3-2 lead. Scott, who had make all of his 29 previous starts this season at designated hitter, started in left field with third baseman Longoria moving into the DH role.
Longoria, bothered the past two weeks by plantar fasciitis in his right foot, was the DH for the third straight game. He made it 5-2 on a sixth-inning solo homer and also had a sacrifice fly in the first.
Longoria is expected to DH again Sunday and could play in the field when the Rays start a road trip Tuesday at Boston.
The Royals took a 2-1 lead in the second when Alex Gordon walked on a 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded and Hosmer hit a sacrifice fly. Salvador Perez cut the deficit to 5-3 on a solo homer in the eighth.
Perez extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the first.
NOTES: Tampa Bay LHP David Price (left triceps strain) had a 25-pitch bullpen session and could start a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday. The AL Cy Young Award winner may rejoin the Rays in late June or early July. ... Royals RHP Wade Davis (3-5) will pitch against his former team for the first time Sunday. "I'm not going to smile ... there's no smiling," Davis said. "We're trying to win games over here. We're trying to get in a good position over here." Roberto Hernandez (4-6) will start for the Rays.
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