ST. PETERSBURG — David Price had already done quite a bit Tuesday.
He battled through the ninth inning to complete a five-hit shutout in the 5-0 win over the Angels with 119 pitches. Did an on-field TV interview with Todd Kalas, then pulled on the headset to talk with radio guys Andy Freed and Dave Wills. He took a shaving cream pie in the face from James Shields.
Then when he finally made his way up the stairs and into the Rays clubhouse came the roughest part of the night. His teammates lined up in a combination gauntlet-receiving line, waiting for him to pull the cord on the Captain Morgan lamp in the corner of the clubhouse that signals the start of the victory party then pummeling him in celebration.
"They hit some balls hard today. I had some fortunate double plays and some line drives right at guys," Price said. "But I took a beating when I got in here. … Everybody starts jumping on me and pulling my clothes off. It's all in good fun. … And it was a pretty good day."
When Price was a few minutes late coming out of the trainer's room to address the media, reliever J.P. Howell joked aloud that it was because he was icing sore ribs.
"Definitely pitching was way easier than getting through that line," Howell said. "He's definitely bruised up, banged up now. … It's a good hurt though. It hurts so good."
The Rays had reason to be happy, winning for the fifth time in six games to improve to 10-7.
In addition to Price's stellar effort — "Best I've ever seen him," Carlos Peña said — they had their trademark handful of defensive gems (topped by Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria) and the added element of power, with four home runs, including the 1,000th hit of Peña's career.
Also going deep: Desmond Jennings (to start the game), B.J Upton (his first of the season), Luke Scott (for a team-high 15 RBIs).
Peña was emotional about reaching the milestone, humbled to have played that long and touched that a young fan returned the ball.
"It's a tale of a dream come true," Peña said. "I'm grateful about getting one hit. I dreamt about getting one hit. So for me to be able to get 1,000, I can't put it into words how special it is for me. The one thing that sticks out is that I'm grateful. Extremely grateful to be able to sit here and say, 'Wow, I've gotten 1,000 hits in the big leagues.'
"That's a lot to me. Maybe that mark is not as celebrated in baseball because we celebrate 2,000, we celebrate 3,000. I celebrated my first one. I celebrated the fact that I got one. So 1,000 is just icing on the cake — and a lot more icing on the cake."
Even more fitting for Peña, it was a home run, the 262nd of his 12-year career. "That makes it even more special, more dramatic," he said. "I cherish the moment. For me, it's something very special."
The milestones were less monumental for Price: His second career shutout and third complete game (second of nine innings).
But he felt pretty good, too, as manager Joe Maddon allowed him the opportunity for the complete game, and the crowd of 14,933 (back to midweek reality) roared as he finished.
"That's what a starting pitcher's goal is every time out," Price said. "It's not a quality start — you can go six (innings) and three (earned runs) all year long and have a 4.50 ERA and everyone's telling you you're a slob. Absolutely, nine innings is our goal every time out."
Marc Topkin can be reached at [email protected]