Game 128: Price Hit Hard by Rangers as Rays Lose 3rd Straight

By Robbie Knopf

David Price has been great all season and remains in the forefront of the AL Cy Young race. But the Rangers had his number on Sunday as they got him for 6 runs on their way to a 6-5 win over the Rays.

The Rays had to like the way the game started as Evan Longoria slammed a 2-run home run off the left field foul pole in the top of the 1st inning and David Price used just 5 pitches to retire the Rangers in the bottom of the inning. But Price’s outing quickly soured after that. Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz slammed back-to-back home runs to begin the 2nd inning for the Rangers, and Michael Young and Geovany Soto both laced singles, leading to a 3rd run on a Mike Olt groundout later in the inning to give Texas a 3-2 lead. The Rays picked up Price in the 3rd, tying the game on a Desmond Jennings triple followed by a B.J. Upton sac fly. But Price simply could not hold the Rangers down as he continued to struggle. An Adrian Beltre 2-run double gave the Rangers a 5-3 lead after 3.

David Price was struggling. But so was Rangers lefty Derek Holland. The Rays tied the game off of him in the 5th on a Desmond Jennings single, a B.J. Upton triple, and a Ben Zobrist single. But Price’s problems were too much for the Rays to overcome. An RBI single by Beltre in the 5th gave the Rangers a 6-5 lead before Price departed after just 4+ innings. He allowed 6 runs on 10 hits, striking out 3 while walking none by getting hit hard all night long. Price was reduced to being a two-pitch pitcher, throwing his fastball and cutter for 61 of his 69 pitches while throwing his curveball and changeup just 4 times each, and the Rangers seemed to be all over him every time. Holland, meanwhile, allowed 5 runs on 6 hits in 6 innings, striking out 5 while walking 1.

The game became a battle of the bullpens, and the Rays were up to the task, with Burke Badenhop (2 innings), Kyle Farnsworth, and Wade Davis combining for 4 hitless innings to keep the Rays down just 6-5. But the Rangers bullpen was even better, with Alexi Ogando, Mike Adams, and Joe Nathan tossing a perfect inning with 2 strikeouts each as the Rays fell 6-5. Holland (9-6) got the win, Price (16-5) took the loss, and Nathan nailed down his 26th save. The Rays have to be frustrated having lost while scoring 5 runs with their ace on the hill, and now they have lost 3 in a row and fallen into third place in both the AL East and Wild Card with the Orioles and A’s both winning on Monday night. The Rays have to get their act together and turn themselves around of the last two games of their series in Texas. James Shields takes on Yu Darvish as the Rays look to start that on Tuesday.