After getting hammered during the first game of the series, the Tampa Bay Rays needed a big performance from David Price on Tuesday night to get back in the win column. That’s exactly what they got in the 2-1 victory. Price was phenomenal going the distance and only allowing 1 run on 6 hits while striking out 12 and not walking a batter. His counterpart Hirashi Iwakuma was equally impressive throwing 8 shutout innings scattering just 4 hits, striking out 5 and not walking a hitter. The Rays’ offense got nothing against Iwakuma, but it mounted a 9th inning comeback off a familiar foe to score 2 runs and take the lead for good.
As good as Price was on the night it didn’t exactly start out well. James Jones led off the game with a double and later scored on a Robinson Cano groundout to put the Mariners up 1-0. From then on out, it was a complete pitcher’s duel. Both Price and Iwakuma exchanged scoreless frames throughout the night until the top of the 9th when Iwakuma was lifted for former Rays’ closer Fernando Rodney. Having Iwakuma out of the game was the best thing the Rays’ offense could’ve asked for. Rodney quickly got up in the count on 0-2 on leadoff hitter David DeJesus but DeJesus battled back and eventually hit a towering home run to right field to tie the game at 1. After striking out Evan Longoria and retiring Ben Zobrist, James Loney battled back after falling behind 0-2 and singled the center to put the go ahead run on base. Loney was lifted for pinch runner Sean Rodriguez and Desmond Jennings promptly struck the first pitch he saw right past shortstop Brad Miller and into left field. Matt Joyce then followed up with a single to center that scored Rodriguez and would give the Rays the lead for good. After walking Yunel Escobar, Rodney was removed from the game.
This game was one the Rays really needed to win with the type of performance they got from their ace. David Price worked around the strike zone masterfully with a fastball touching 96 MPH and kept the Mariners’ bats quiet all night because of it. As bad as things have been for the Rays’ lately they will head into Wednesday afternoon’s contest just 4.5 games out of first place. With Alex Cobb’s return to the rotation appearing to be right around the corner, things aren’t quite as bad as they have seemed lately.
Jake Odorizzi will take the mound tomorrow with a fresh bullpen behind him in the rubber-game. The game is at 3:40 PM. Check back here for game coverage.