David Price was needed to step up for the Rays. As they have had difficulty scoring runs as of late, scoring only sixteen runs in the last six games, the Rays were likely to need Price to come through as the dominant pitcher they know he can be.
Price certainly held up his end of the bargain early, giving up only two hits through the first four innings. Yunel Escobar punched a two out single to center, scoring Desmond Jennings to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. With the way the Rays offense had been, it was up to Price to attempt to make that run hold up.
Everything fell apart in the fifth. Alberto Callaspo grounded to Ben Zobrist, who threw the ball away for his first error in the past 81 games. Price followed by walking Chris Young, who entered the game hitting .191. After a strikeout, the newly acquired Kurt Suzuki turned on a pitch down and in, planting the ball into the left field stands to put the A’s ahead 3-1.
A’s starter Jarrod Parker was cruising along until the top of the eighth when the Rays rallied. Tampa loaded the bases with no outs, and cut the lead to one when Matthew Joyce hit a sacrifice fly to left. James Loney followed with a line drive to center that hit off the heel of Young’s glove, getting away for an RBI double as the Rays tied the game. With runners on second and third, Tampa appeared to be in position to take the lead, but Ryan Cook was able to work out of the jam, stranding the runners and preserving the tie.
Price came back out for the eighth, and promptly gave up a base hit to Coco Crisp to end his night, bringing in Joel Peralta. On what may have turned out to be the key play of the game, Crisp took off for second on a 2-2 pitch, which was grounded sharply to short. Escobar had no play at second, taking the out at first. Jed Lowrie followed with a double down the right field line, plating Crisp to put the A’s back on top. Price ended up allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits and a walk, striking out five. It may not have been his best performance, but Price certainly deserved a better fate than he received.
The Rays were unable to mount a comeback against former Ray Grant Balfour, as the A’s held on for the win. Zobrist did his best to atone for the error, going 2-4 with a double, a walk and a run scored.
Escobar was 1-3 with a walk and an RBI in the loss.