Expectations for David Price‘s start for tonight were naturally tempered. With his first start off the disabled list, and a 90 pitch limit, only so much could have been expected, even against the hapless Houston Astros. Needless to say, Price completely obliterated expectations tonight.
The Rays got a run quickly in the first against Astros starter Erik Bedard, loading the bases with one out. Wil Myers hit a sacrifice fly to right to plate the first run of the game, and that run would be all that Price would need tonight.
Sitting consistently in the mid 90′s, and touching 96 on occasion, Price made quick work of the Astros lineup, facing the minimum through three innings. He gave up a couple of hits, but had both baserunners erased on a double play, and he picked off Jimmy Paredes to end the third.
After seemingly letting Bedard off the hook by only scoring once despite having five runners on base in the first two innings, the Rays came through in the fourth. With runners on second and third, Desmond Jennings continued the Rays two out scoring magic, grounding a single through the right side to plate James Loney and Jose Molina for a 3-0 lead. Jennings was not done, as he belted a towering home run to left in the sixth, a two run shot that hit high off the facade to put Tampa ahead 5-0.
Price, meanwhile, tore through the Astros lineup. In seven dominant innings, he faced one batter over the minimum, giving up three hits while striking out ten batters. He was also extremely economical, throwing only 70 pitches as he was in complete command all night.
The Rays scored some insurance runs in the top of the eighth, as Yunel Escobar hit a two run, two out double, and came around to score on a double by Loney to provide the final margin in the 8-0 victory. Jennings had a huge night, going 3-5 with a home run, four RBIs and two runs scored, but was completely overshadowed by Price’s excellent outing. Evan Longoria, making his first start since Friday, was 2-4 with a walk in the victory.