Rays hit into triple play, Price battered in loss to Yankees
Say this for the Tampa Bay Rays batters – and maybe for the entire ball club at this early part of the season – they finally hit something Thursday night against the Yankees.
After watching their ace David Price get ambushed for four runs and three extra base hits by the first 11 batters he faced, the Rays then did something that crystallized their recent struggles, hitting into a triple play.
The around-the-horn, triple play on one swing by Sean Rodriguez in the second inning seemed to be the lowlight in the Rays 10-2 loss to the Yankees in the series opener before 28,085 at Tropicana Field. The fourth straight defeat dropped the Rays’ record to 7-9.But considering the deteriorating state of the Rays starting pitching, the poor performance by Price might have stung the most.
Needing their ace to continue to anchor a Rays staff that has lost three starting pitchers to the disabled list, Price lasted only five innings and was battered for six runs and 10 hits – six of them for extra bases – including back-to-back home runs by the Yankees’ Alfonso Soriano and Brian McCann.
Of course, the Rays lumber slumber has been as much a story as their pitching woes. Heading into Thursday’s meeting against Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia (2-2), the Rays had scored only 14 runs in their previous nine games.
Trailing 4-0, they looked to break out of it in the second inning when Evan Longoria led off with a double to right center and Wil Myers walked.
But Sabathia got Rodriguez to ground into a 5-4-3 triple play. Third baseman Yangervis Solaris fielded the ball, stepped on the bag at third, fired to second baseman Brian Roberts, forcing Myers. Roberts then relayed the ball to Scott Sizemore, who was making his first start at first base at any level to nip a hustling Rodriguez.
It was the Yankees third triple play turned since 2010 – unbelievably – all in April with Sabathia on the mound. It's also was not the first time Rodriguez has hit into a triple killing. He did it at Boston in Aug. 2011.
Rodriguez did get a measure of revenge, blasting a long home run to left to lead off the seventh against Sabathia.
With Moore out for the season and Alex Cobb and Jeremy Hellickson likely gone until early June, Price figured to be the guy to settle things down Thursday.
Not only had the Rays won eight of their last nine games when Price faced Sabathia, the Rays’ lefty had been dominant during that stretch with a 6-1 record and 2.41 earned run average.
Even more encouraging, Price (2-1) came within two outs of a complete game shutout in his last start against the Reds, allowing only four hits.But the Yankees were aggressive early against Price, doing much of their damage during a three-run second inning.
After allowing a leadoff double to Sizemore, Roberts and Jacoby Ellsbury tripled and shortstop Derek Jeter singled in the final run. Price settled down, allowing only a single over the next 10 batters he faced.But Soriano and McCann hit back-to-back jacks and Solarte doubled before Price struck out Sizemore, ending his night.
At the very least, the Rays needed Price to go deep into Thursday night’s game against the Yankees to spare their bullpen, especially with 35-year-old lefty Erik Bedard and Cesar Ramos scheduled to start two of the next three games against the Yankees.
“Bedard I think is ready to throw a really good game and Ramos is motivated after his last start,’’ Maddon said.
"It’s one of those unfortunate moments. It’s happens to everybody during the course of the season. It happened to us early on. Just keep on playing. Get our rotation back in order. We’ve got Bedard pitching tomorrow and Ramos on Sunday. That’s probably a bigger concern, because I know we’re going to start hitting.’’