The Rays endured a tough loss on Wednesday. But playing a 12:10 game on Thursday, they had to immediately refocus. Thursday turned out to be quite a different story for Rays.
The Rays are always confident when David Price is on the mound. Thursday’s game was a perfect example. Over the first 3 innings of the game, Price allowed just a Carlos Santana walk to the Indians. In the 4th, he got into some trouble, walking Santana again to begin the inning before allowing a Jose Lopez single to end the no-hit bid. But aided by a caught stealing on a great throw by Jose Molina, Price maintained his composure to escape the inning unscathed, and he rolled after that, allowing just an Asdrubal Cabrera single in the final 2 innings, but facing the minimum 6 as he picked him off. Price went 7 innings allowing no runs on just 2 hits, striking out 7 while walking 3. Price went 7 innings for the 13th time this season, most in baseball, and there’s no denying that he’s an ace-caliber pitcher now. And unlike we’ve seen from this team at other times, the Rays were not going to let Price’s performance be overshadowed by a lack of offense or a bullpen collapse.
It started the same way. The Rays got 2 hits and a walk against Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez in the first inning- but they left the bases loaded. Jose Molina singled in the second inning AND STOLE A BASE, but he was stranded as well. Then in the third inning, the Rays had 2 outs with nobody on and Luke Scott coming to the plate. But Scott made some of the Rays’ troubles go away with a homer into the right field seats to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. But the Rays couldn’t extend their lead in the 4th despite having runners at the corners with 1 out. Ben Zobrist was caught stealing as the Rays failed to score in the 5th. The Scott homer was an outlier. The Rays couldn’t generate any offense at all. They would get hits and get on base, but it simply would not translate to runs.
In the 6th inning, there were 2 outs with nobody on when Desmond Jennings was hit by a pitch. Jose Molina followed with a bloop single. Then Sean Rodriguez walked, and the Rays had a golden opportunity to extend their lead with B.J. Upton coming to the plate. And Upton came through with the hit the Rays so desperately needed drilling a liner down the third base line for a bases-clearing 3-run double to hand the Rays a 4-0 cushion. A Carlos Pena RBI single extended that lead to 5-0 before Jeff Keppinger doubled in a run in the 7th to make it 6-0.
Wade Davis closed off the game with a bang, getting a double play to work around a walk in the 8th before striking out the side in the 9th as the Rays won 6-0. Price (13-4) became the first pitcher in baseball to get to 13 wins, while the Rays tagged Jimenez for 5 runs on 7 hits in 5.2 innings to drop him to 8-9. It was a big win for the Rays as everything clicked. Price was great, the offense came up huge to turn this one into a blowout, and Davis kept his foot on the accelerator to close it out. The Rays manage a split with the Indians and hope that more games like this and better overall performance lie ahead. The Rays welcome the Mariners to the Trop for a 3-game set beginning on Friday night, with James Shields facing off against Hisashi Iwakuma in the opener. Shields has been struggling of late, but hopefully he can turn himself around and help the Rays start a run.