David Price posts his first victory while throwing a season high 119 pitches. Price has finally found his way again effectively lowering his ERA to 5.21, managing 7 strong innings while holding the White Sox offense to 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 9 and walking 2. Price has back to back quality starts now as the Rays are just one win shy of .500 now and sit at 12-13 on the season.
Price seemed to struggle early in the first getting past the first two White Sox hitters. With 2 outs and no one on Alex Rios singled to right and stole second. Paul Konerko came up next and managed to draw a walk to put men at first and second with 2 out. Adam Dunn then singled to center, scoring Rios to give Chicago a 1-0 lead. The throw home by center fielder was late but a heads up play by catcher Jose Lobaton nailed Konerko at third trying to take the extra base on the throw home. Lobaton came up big again in the third with a solo shot to right field, his second home run of the season, to tie the game at 1 apiece.
After the first Price managed to settle down less a 2 run blast by Paul Konerko in the third that at the time gave the White Sox a 3-1 lead.
With the Rays down by 2 Desmond Jennings looked to get things going in the sixth with a lead-off ground rule double over the head of center fielder Dwayne Wise. Matt Joyce then crushed a ball down the right field line that barely stayed fair to tie the game at 3-3.
In a weird turn of events Price seemed to be getting squeezed by home plate umpire Tom Hallion. After a few close and questionable calls, Price managed to make it out of the inning. While walking through the dugout it had appeared Price continued to complain and jaw at the home plate umpire. Tom Hallion turned around and appeared to toss someone out of the game, the likely choice would have been Price himself. It turned out to be Jeremy Hellickson complaining and yelling, standing up for his teammate. Even the announcers were confused as to who was tossed at the time as Price was the obvious choice yet still sat in the dugout. The ejection was irrelevant as Hellickson had no outcome on the game anyway.
The top of the eighth is where the Rays offense began to strike. Sean Rodriguez lead the inning off with a single, taking second on a wild pitch in the dirt that made it past catcher Tyler Flowers. After a Desmond Jennings popup out to short, Matt Joyce proceeded to walk to put men at first and second. The always clutch Ben Zobrist came up to the plate looking to come through for the Rays and smashed a single up the middle, scoring Rodriguez and giving Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead, their first lead of the game. Evan Longoria walked to load the bases for a red hot James Loney. After a quick pitching change, Loney managed nothing more than a soft fly to short center. After yet another pitching change, this time to a right handed pitcher, to face the right-handed Ryan Roberts. With the bases loaded and 2 outs Roberts managed to draw a full count, fouling off multiple pitches to stay alive, Tatman lofted a slicing fly ball to short right field. A charging Alex Rios misplayed the ball and was charged an error on the play, scoring both Joyce & Zobrist, giving the Rays a 6-3 lead.
Joel Peralta came in to nail down the 8th inning, invoking a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Heading into the top of the ninth Tampa Bay tacked on 2 more runs on an RBI single by Ben Zobrist and an RBI double for Evan Longoria further putting the game out of reach for the White Sox. Fernando Rodney came in to nail down the ninth for the Rays in a non save situation with a five run lead.
This was an encouraging win for the Rays as they managed 8 runs on 8 hits, albeit some luck with a key error by Alex Rios breaking the game open. The only concerning part was the White Sox running early and often on Price and Lobaton perhaps taking advantage of the Rays sitting the injured Jose Molina.
Up next is a big matchup as Tampa Bay visits the Kansas City Royals and old friend ‘Big Game’ James Shields (1-2, 3.09 ERA) for a three game series starting Tuesday night at 8:10pm with Alex Cobb (3-1, 1.82 ERA) taking the mound for the Rays.