Given the amount of work that the Rays bullpen had in their two game set against the Diamondbacks, the Rays had to be relieved to see David Price on the mound for tonight’s game against the Dodgers. As he has done since coming off the disabled list, Price dominated, but the bullpen reverted their early season form, blowing a lead as the Dodgers rallied.
Tampa got on the board in the top of the second, taking advantage of several Dodgers miscues. Wil Myers led off the inning with a single, and moved to second as Ben Zobrist was safe on an error by Nick Punto. Yunel Escobar singled up the middle, plating Myers and moving to second on a bad throw to the plate. James Loney, in his return to Dodger Stadium, followed with a two run single, giving the Rays an early 3-0 lead.
The Dodgers had a chance to score in the fourth. With Jerry Hairston on first and two outs, Juan Uribe doubled down the right field line. Hairston attempted to score, but Zobrist got the ball back in quickly, and Hairston was out by several feet at the plate, ending the inning and preserving the shutout.
The Rays extended the lead in the top of the fifth. With runners on second and third with one out, Myers was intentionally walked to load the bases for Zobrist. He made the Dodgers pay, singling to center to drive in a run. Escobar followed with a two run base hit, and the Rays had a quick 6-0 lead.
Price, meanwhile, continued to do what he had done since his return from the disabled list – throw strikes and work quickly. The Dodgers finally got on the board in the bottom of the seventh. After Price walked his first batter in 35.1 innings, Uribe grounded to third. Evan Longoria rushed his throw to second as he attempted to start a double play, but threw the ball into right field. After a double play left the Dodgers with a runner on third and two outs, Skip Schumaker doubled to put Los Angeles on the board. Price got out of the inning by striking out pinch hitter Hanley Ramirez to end the inning.
The strikeout was Price’s final pitch of the night, as he allowed only the unearned run on seven hits and a walk, striking out four in seven innings. He continued his economical performance, throwing 99 pitches with 63 strikes as he made quick work of the Dodgers lineup.
Los Angeles got a run back in the bottom of the eighth. With a runner on second and two outs, Josh Lueke relieved Jake McGee, and gave up a ground rule double to Puig, cutting the lead to 6-2. After walking Hairston, Lueke was pulled, as Joel Peralta was called in to get out of the jam. Uribe singled to drive in a run, but Peralta got pinch hitter Carl Crawford to popup to short to end the threat.
The Dodgers continued to make it interesting in the bottom of the ninth. Schumaker singled to lead off the inning against Fernando Rodney, and after a strikeout, Mark Ellis hit a slicing line drive to left. Zobrist dove to try to get the out, but the ball got past him for a run scoring triple. Punto followed with a double, cutting the lead to one. Then the wheels completely fell off, as Adrian Gonzalez tied the game with a double down the right field line. Puig was intentionally walked, bringing up Hairston. Hairston grounded back to the mound, and it appeared as though the game was destined for extras, but Rodney threw the ball into center, allowing Gonzalez to score with the game winning run.
Rodney took the loss, blowing a save for the second consecutive game, giving up four runs, three earned, on four hits and a walk while recording one out.
Loney was 3-4 with two RBIs in his return to Los Angeles.