Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

David Price dominant, Rays win again

MINNEAPOLIS — The tremendous pitching the Rays got again from David Price on Saturday they have come to rely on, at least as long as he's still with them.

But if they are going to continue their march back into postseason contention — and along the way, potentially reduce the chance of Price being traded — they are going to need help from less prominent contributors as well.

In beating the Twins 5-1, they got another dazzling, dominating outing from Price, who won his career-high fifth straight start, allowing four hits over eight innings and striking out nine without a walk.

"We were talking before the game about how well he's been pitching and trying to compare it to his Cy Young Award-winning year (2012)," manager Joe Maddon said. "And I'm telling you, he's right there now."

But the Rays also got all five runs knocked in by the unlikely duo of Sean Rodriguez, whose homer into the second deck was forecast by Maddon, and Jose Molina, who had his first multi-RBI game in more than a year.

"We are 25 guys," Molina said, "25 guys who are going to do something to help the team win."

The Rays improved to 46-53, having won four straight, 13 of 17 and 22 of 33. They remained 81/2 games behind AL East-leading Baltimore, and at worst they stayed seven games back of Seattle for the second American League wild card, pending late Saturday's result.

Price didn't start well, lacking fastball command and needing 23 pitches to get through the first.

"He wasn't him," Molina said. "He was throwing cutters up there, I don't even know where he got them. And then he settled down, started hitting spots and controlling himself, and another eight shutout innings."

Price said he made a slight adjustment warming up for the third. He cruised from there, extending his scoreless streak to 16 innings, working at least eight for the eighth time in his past 11 starts, improving his ERA to 3.06 and extending his majors-leading strikeout total to 173.

As good as his 20-5, 2.56 ERA Cy Young season?

"I'm throwing the ball better," Price said. "I've never been the pitcher that I am right now. That's awesome. It's cool. I enjoy it. I want to get better every day. I'm constantly looking for things to critique and just to give the hitter something else to think about."

As Price was settling in, his mates gave him a 3-0 lead in the second.

Maddon had several reasons for starting Rodriguez and seven righty hitters overall, including their schedule, upcoming opponents and the matchup with Twins right-hander Phil Hughes. Before the game, Maddon told several people he really liked Rodriguez's chances and expected him to hit a homer into the second deck.

And after two singles, a double-play grounder by Yunel Escobar and Molina's RBI single, Rodriguez did just that, giving him 10 homers, one fewer than team leader Evan Longoria — who high-fived Maddon in the dugout — in less than half as many at-bats, and 35 RBIs. "I'm glad he was right," Rodriguez said.

Lately, that has been happening a lot for the Rays.

David Price dominant, Rays win again 07/19/14 [Last modified: Sunday, July 20, 2014 12:26am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay Downs full of high-paying races this season


    OLDSMAR — Tampa Bay Downs is green like never before.

  2. Astros rout Yankees to force Game 7 of AL Championship Series


    HOUSTON — Justin Verlander pitched seven shutout innings to outduel Luis Severino for the second time, and the Astros bats came alive in their return home as Houston routed the Yankees 7-1 Friday night and forced a decisive Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

    The Astros’ Brian McCann, who has struggled during the ALCS, breaks a scoreless tie with an RBI double during the fifth inning off Yankees starter Luis Severino.
  3. Fennelly: What's not to like about Lightning's start?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — No one is engraving the Stanley Cup. No one has begun stuffing the league MVP ballot box for Nikita Kucherov.

    The Lightning, with a win tonight, would match the best start in franchise history, 7-1-1 in the 2003-04 Cup season.
  4. Quarterback Jameis Winston will start Sunday for the Bucs


    TAMPA — Jameis Winston hadn't thrown in practice since he injured his right shoulder in Sunday's loss at Arizona, and with that uncertainty, a wide line of TV cameras and reporters' cellphones were all out Friday morning, recording the moment as Winston tested his shoulder with his first throws early in …

    Despite a sore shoulder, Jameis Winston will be making his 38th consecutive start since being drafted first overall in 2015.
  5. Bucs journal: LB Kwon Alexander ready to return from injury


    TAMPA — LB Kwon Alexander, sidelined by a hamstring injury since the second quarter of the Bucs' season opener against Chicago, will finally make a healthy return Sunday against the Bills.

    Linebacker Kwon Alexander needs “to get my stats back up” after being out since the opener.