Entering tonight’s game, David Price had been 9-2 with a WHiP of exactly 1.00 in 12 career starts against the Toronto Blue Jays. Let’s make that 10-2 in 13 starts.
The Rays jumped on Toronto starter Brandon Morrow early. Desmond Jennings hit a leadoff single to center, bringing up Ben Zobrist. Zobrist followed with a line drive home run on the first pitch he saw, giving the Rays an immediate 2-0 lead. Carlos Pena flied out to center, and was followed by Evan Longoria. Longoria hit a hard line drive to deep right, but Jose Bautista made a great play to rob Longoria of extra bases. Luke Scott then singled to right, but Jeff Keppinger grounded into a fielder’s choice, ending the inning.
The Jays came right back in the bottom of the inning. Yunel Escobar singled to lead off the frame. After a Kelly Johnson groundout moved Escobar to second, Bautista hit an RBI single to center, cutting the lead to 2-1. Edwin Encarnacion followed with a base hit to left, putting runners on first and second. However, Price escaped further trouble by striking out Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie to end the inning.
The Rays got the run right back in the top of the second. Matt Joyce led off the inning by doubling to deep center. Jose Molina hit a ground ball to second, moving Joyce over to third. Sean Rodriguez followed with a fly ball to medium left, plating Joyce and giving the Rays a 3-1 lead.
After two quick outs, the Blue Jays would get that run right back. Jeff Mathis, known more for his defensive abilities than his hitting, hit a home run to left, cutting the lead to 3-2. Escobar flied out to right to end the inning.
Following a quiet third inning, the Rays would score again. With two outs, Joyce doubled to deep center once again. Molia followed with a base hit to left, scoring Joyce and giving the Rays a 4-2 lead. Rodriguez and Jennings drew back to back walks to load the bases, however Morrow escaped further damage by getting Zobrist to ground out to first base.
David Price continued to cruise along until the bottom of the fifth inning. Escobar led off the inning with a single to left, but was promptly erased on a 6-4-3 double play. Baustista walked, and moved to third on an Encarnacion single. Price got Adam Lind to ground to second, ending the threat.
In the top of the sixth, the Rays gave Price some breathing room. Matt Joyce continued his hot night, slamming a 1-out home run to give the Rays a 5-2 lead. Following a Molina groundout, Sean Rodriguez hit his first home run of the season, extending the lead to 6-2.
In the bottom of the sixth, Price got Brett Lawrie to ground out to first, then struck out Rajai Davis. Colby Rasmus followed with a two out hit to center, ending the night for Price. He left the game having given up 2 earned runs in 5.2 innings, on 8 hits and 2 walks with 3 strikeouts. He wasn’t overpowering, but worked out of some jams and gave the Rays exactly the type of outing they need to win ballgame. Wade Davis came on in relief, and struck out Mathis to end the inning.
The score remained at 6-2 until the top of the ninth. Carlos Villanueva came in, and promptly hit Jose Molina with his second pitch. Rodriguez hit what looked like an easy double play ball to Lawrie, who booted it to short. Escobar fired a dart to first, but Rodriguez barely beat the throw. Jennings hit into a fielder’s choice for the first out, and then Zobrist was intentionally walked to load the bases. Carlos Pena then walked, extending the lead to 7-2. Longoria followed with a base hit, scoring Jennings and bringing the lead to 8-2. Luke Scott then followed with a big exclamation point, a grand slam to right, bringing the score to 12-2, which would be the final score of the game.
This game was a positive for the Rays in almost every facet. The offense really broke through, and the bullpen had a solid evening. Hopefully the Rays can use this game as a springboard for the rest of the season.