It looks like the Rays have their ace back. David Price, who won the 2012 AL Cy Young award when he went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA, was struggling to begin the season. He was 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA through his first nine starts until until he strained his left triceps during a start on May 15.
Price made his first start since then tonight, and he made his best start since 2012. He dominated a weak Houston lineup that entered the game last in the AL in team batting average and 13th in runs scored, pounding the strike zone with all of his pitches. He pitched seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits while striking out 10 batters and walking nobody.
However, Price was even more dominant than that stat line shows. Not only did Price not walk a batter all game, but he also never even had a single three-ball count. He also needed to throw just 70 pitches all game, 48 of which were strikes. He never had to throw more than 12 pitches in a single inning.
The Astros didn’t get a base runner past first base until the eighth inning, when Jamey Wright came in to relieve Price, and allowed a single and then hit a batter. Joel Peralta then came in and got Wright out of the jam, retiring the next three batters. Kyle Farnsworth then came in and retired the side in order in the ninth inning, preserving the shutout.
Desmond Jennings got the Rays offense going early, as he singled off of Astros’ starter Erik Bedard on the very first pitch of the game and eventually scored the first run of the game on a sac fly by Wil Myers.
James Loney hit a one-out single in the top of the fourth, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. Jose Molina then walked. After Kelly Johnson advanced the runners to second and third, Jennings then came through with a two-out, two-run single, giving the Rays a 3-0 lead.
Jennings would then help the Rays pad their lead again in the sixth inning, when he followed Molina’s lead-off double with a two-run homer, his tenth of the season.
With two outs and nobody on in the ninth inning, the Rays would then start a three-run rally. Evan Longoria and Wil Myers singled. With his hit, Myers has now hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games after going 0-4 in his Major League debut on June 18. Yunel Escobar then followed with a two-run double, and then Loney drove in Escobar with a double of his own.
With their win tonight, the Rays stay in third place in the AL East. They remain 5.5 games back of the first place Boston Red Sox, who beat the San Diego Padres 4-1. However, the Rays are now just two games behind the Baltimore Orioles, who lost 5-2 to the Chicago White Sox, for the second wild card spot.
The Rays and Astros face off again tomorrow night at 8:10 PM ET, with Roberto Hernandez (4-9, 4.98 ERA) taking on Bud Norris (5-7, 3.35 ERA).
About the Author
Written by Will Creager
I'm currently a senior at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, FL, studying math and sports journalism. Sports are my passion, especially baseball.