David Price continued his impressive 2012 season tonight, as the Rays shut down the Baltimore Orioles 5-0.
The Rays exploded in the bottom of the first off of starter Wei-Yin Chen. Carlos Pena led off the game with a double to deep right, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. B.J. Upton reached on a fielder’s choice, as Pena was cut down attempting to score on a ground ball to short. Matt Joyce followed with a base hit, putting runners on first and second. Ben Zobrist loaded the bases with a bunt base hit, bringing up Luke Scott. Scott singled to center, scoring Upton and Joyce, giving the Rays a 2-0 lead. After a sacrifice bunt gave the Rays a 3-0 lead, new Ray Hideki Matsui homered to right, extending the lead to 5-0.
That was all the support that Price needed. He shut down the Baltimore offense, not allowing a baserunner until a one out single by Matt Wieters in the top of the fifth inning. Chen matched Price pitch for pitch after the rough first inning, keeping the Orioles at least within striking distance.
The Orioles threatened in the top of the sixth inning. With one out, they loaded the bases on walks to Bill Hall and Robert Andino, and a single to left by Steve Tolleson. J.J. Hardy followed with a fly ball to deep center, which appeared as though it would be a routine sacrifice fly. However, Upton made a great throw from center, catching Tolleson as he tried to move up to second before Hall was able to cross home plate, thus keeping the shutout intact.
Price continued to pitch masterfully, leaving with one out in the eighth inning when he left the game after Wilson Betemit reached on an error. In his 7.1 innings of work, Price permitted only 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 5 batters.
Baltimore gave it one last try in the top of the ninth. With one out, Burke Badenhop allowed consecutive singles to Hardy, Adam Jones, and Wieters. With the bases loaded, Fernando Rodney was brought in and escaped the jam, striking out Mark Reynolds before getting Chris Davis to ground out to end the game.
With the victory, the Rays find themselves a game up on the Orioles for first in the AL East.