Apr 22, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher David Price (14) smiles as he is congratulated by teammates after he pitched a complete game against the Minnesota Twins at Tropicana Field. Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Minnesota Twins 7-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Coming into the game against the Minnesota Twins, David DeJesus had just one hit in his last twenty-six at-bats. One can hope tonight was a slump buster for DeJesus. He went 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs and seemed to have the weight of the world lifted off of his shoulders. The Rays, as a team, did good working the count against Minnesota pitchers and reaped the rewards as a result. In the 1st inning, Evan Longoria walked to load the bases and James Loney delivered a single that plated two runs. Wil Myers walked and in stepped DeJesus. Coming into the game, if it was a hot Florida night, the Rays wouldn’t have needed to run the air conditioning in the Trop because DeJesus was that cold. But, he came through with a single and couldn’t help but smile.. The Rays scored three runs and forced Minnesota Twins’ starter Kyle Gibson to throw 41 pitches in the first inning alone.
David Price, on the other hand, was very sharp. He retired the first nine Twins in order, a sharp contrast to his last start against the New York Yankees where nothing seemed to work. The 4th inning provided a scare in more ways than one. Price gave up a lead off home run to Brian Dozier. The next batter, Joe Mauer, lined a ball up the middle that hit Price and cause Rays’ fans to hide under the table. Was another starter about to go down to injury? Thankfully, Price was fine and everyone was smiling. All smiles quickly went away though, as the next batter, Chris Colabello, blasted a two-run home run. Suddenly, what was a walk in the park became a game again.
The next half inning the Rays responded. Ben Zobrist and Desmond Jennings singled and Matt Joyce doubled the left-center, scoring them both. It was now 7-3 and Rays fans hit the double bonus. Not only did Joyce drive in runs, but he went the other way to do it. Teams might have to start thinking twice about putting the shift on against Joyce, as he has really enhanced his ability to go to the opposite field this season. Fans just have to hope that Joyce keeps this up and doesn’t do his usual disappearing act when June rolls around. Zobrist also had another strong game. Is there anything he doesn’t do well? He was 2 for 4 and did something many were thinking the Rays had forgotten how to do, he stole a base. He hit lead-off today and that may be a spot he should be slotted into as long as Joyce is producing in the middle of the order.
David Price was strong the rest of the game. From start to finish, the game was his and he went the entire nine innings. Price surrendered six hits and three runs and was dominant other than the fourth inning. He struck out 12 Twins on his way to throwing 113 pitches, and also showcased his usually dominant command by walking just one batter.
The weirdest happening of the night was in one of Yunel Escobar’s at-bats. The umpires were all confused on the count late in the at-bat, so to ensure they got the count correct, they went to replay. Replays clearly showed that Escobar had been thrown four balls, but the umpires incorrectly stated that the count was 3-2. Escobar then struck out, but fortunately it didn’t affect the game. The kinks of replay are still being worked out, and tonight’s game showed just that.