Make it two wins in a row for the Tampa Bay Rays to open second half of the 2014 season, as David Price threw another gem and the Rays offense came alive in key situations to take the second game of a weekend series against the Minnesota Twins 5-1.
The Rays got on the board first in the second inning, when Jose Molina blooped a single down the right field line to bring home James Loney, and in the very next at bat, Sean Rodriguez hit a Home Run Derby worthy shot into the upper deck to make it a 3-0 game. And, for a while, it looked like the game would end that way, as Phil Hughes settled down. But, the Rays would tag Hughes for two more runs in his final inning of work. Hughes finished his outing going seven innings, allowing 11 hits and all five runs, as well as walking and striking out one batter each. Each of the two Twins relief pitchers – Jared Burton and Casey Fien - each allowed a hit in their inning of work.
I feel like a broken record when talking about Price’s games, but he was outstanding again tonight; going eight innings and scattering just four hits while punching out nine Twins. Price was taken out because of his pitch count of 119, which made way for Juan Carlos Oviedo in the ninth inning. This is where the game almost got interesting. Oviedo only faced four batters – hitting All Star Brian Dozier, getting Trevor Plouffe to fly out, walking Kendrys Morales and finally facing Kurt Suzuki, which ended in an RBI single to put the Twins on the board. Joe Maddon certainly didn’t want to, but he had no other option to bring in Jake McGee to shut the door, which he did by getting Chris Parmelee to swing and miss.
Every one of the Rays starting nine, except for Desmond Jennings in the leadoff spot, had a hit tonight, and five Rays batters knocked home two. We’ve been talking both as a RCG staff and here on the site about whether or not the Rays winning two out of every three games is possible, and this is a great way to begin the second half, doing just that in their first series.