Game 29: David Price’s Struggles Continue As Rockies Roll
By Dereck Violante
The Colorado Rockies take game two of the series with a 9-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Not much is going well for David Price this season, from his early innings struggles to his lower velocity. Tonight’s game was not much better for him as he managed to go 7 innings, giving up 9 runs, 4 earned, on 10 hits while striking out 5 and walking 3. Price has also now given up 8 home runs in 45 innings of work compared to 16 home runs in 211 innings in 2012. It was evident early that Price did not have his fastball working as he relied more on his changeup, cutter, and curveball throughout the game.
Things started off well for Tampa Bay as Desmond Jennings led off the game with a single on the first pitch thrown by Jon Garland. After two soft fly balls to center field, Evan Longoria hit a sharp liner up the middle just past the glove of Garland. On an aggressive base running play Jennings hustled it out to take third. With two outs James Loney came up looking to do some damage but was perhaps robbed of a hit by short stop Troy Tulowitzki, snagging a liner as he was slightly cheating up the middle of the infield. During the bottom half of the frame after consecutive singles Tulowitzki knocked in the first run of the game with an RBI single that was smashed past first baseman James Loney giving the Rockies a 1-0 lead. David Price was able to limit the damage and escape the inning finally getting catcher Wilin Rosario to pop out.
In a scary moment for the Rays, Yunel Escobar was drilled on the left wrist during his first at bat and seemed to be in pain after several minutes of being looked at by the trainers. Joe Maddon chose to lift Escobar for a pinch runner at that point as a precautionary measure. X-rays came back negative so far and the injury is being called a contusion. Pinch runner Ryan Roberts moved to second base at the bottom of the inning as Ben Zobrist then slid over to take over short stop for the game.
During the top of the third the Rays offense began to come alive as Matt Joyce drew a leadoff walk. Zobrist then made it to first on a fielders choice, hustling to beat out the throw. Evan Longoria then singled advancing Zobrist to third. With 2 out James Loney again came up with runners out and this time ripped an RBI double down the left field line, scoring Zobrist and tying the game at one. With two on and two out Kelly Johnson worked the count full and fouled off several pitches for a great at bat, wearing down Jon Garland and eventually hit a 2 RBI single to right field giving the Rays a 3-1 lead. Ryan Roberts was then caught looking, ending the Rays threat. That was the last lead the Rays would have all night as Troy Tulowitzki would come up big again for the Rockies in the bottom of the third as he crushed a 2 RBI double over the head of Matt Joyce tying the game at 3 apiece.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the fifth when Price gave up a solo blast to dead center off the bat of Carlos Gonzalez, giving the Rockies a 4-3 lead.
The Rays began to threaten again with two outs in the top of the seventh as Ben Zobrist drew a 2 out walk and advanced to second on a balk by the pitcher. Evan Longoria, batting .409 with RISP this year, worked the count full but was eventually called out on strikes on a questionable call over the inside corner.
Price pitched solid until the bottom of the seventh inning where it all began to fall apart. After 2 quick outs Carlos Gonzalez singled to center. Tulowitzki, again coming up big for his team, smashed a hard hit ball to Longoria at third. Longoria managed to knock the ball down but threw wide of first allowing Gonzalez and Tulowitzki to take second and third. Michael Cuddyer then hit an infield single to short, allowing Gonzalez to score. Price then gave up a walk in a big spot to catcher Wilin Rosario, loading the bases for the red-hot rookie third baseman Nolan Arrenado. Arrenado put the game out of reach absolutely crushing a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left center for a grand slam, giving the Rockies a 9-3 lead and effectively putting the game out of reach.
The Rays began to threaten in the top of the ninth putting two men on base but nothing came of that as the Rockies bullpen closed the door. After the Rockies starter left the game after 5 innings of work Colorado’s bullpen stepped up pitching 4 innings of shutout ball allowing only 4 baserunners for the Rays.
This was not a good loss for the Rays especially after last night’s amazing come back win. The lone bright spot may have been James Loney’s 3 for 4 night raising his batting average to .380.
The Rays close out their three game series in Colorado tomorrow at 4:10pm as Alex Cobb (3-2, 2.55 ERA) looks to get Tampa Bay back on track against a fresh off his DL stint Jhoulys Chacin (3-0, 1.46 ERA).