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)

John Jaso stars as Tampa Bay Rays bail out David Price, beat Houston Astros

HOUSTON — This is how good things have been going for the Rays.

Manager Joe Maddon decided to rest All-Star third baseman Evan Longoria for the first time this season Sunday against the Astros. He put rookie catcher John Jaso in the third spot in the order and started Hank Blalock at third.

All Jaso did was hit the tying homer and a two-run triple, with his career-high four RBIs sparking the Rays to a 10-6, come-from-behind win over Houston at Minute Maid Park.

Blalock also hit a solo homer as the Rays, who have a season-high six-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East, overcame a four-run deficit and a rough start by David Price.

But it was Jaso, who made several big blocks and threw out Hunter Pence trying to steal second in the seventh inning to cut short a rally, who stole the show.

Jaso "was wonderful," Maddon said. "He works every at-bat every time. … He threw well (Sunday), he blocked well. … I don't know how many at-bats he's had to this point, maybe two to this point have not been his normal at-bat.

"I really love watching him hit."

The best-in-the-majors Rays (32-12) won four of five on the trip to improve to an astounding 19-5 on the road and come home to face the Red Sox for a three-game series starting tonight.

Ben Zobrist said Sunday's win was a confidence-builder, as the Rays — carried a lot by their starting pitchers this season — found a way to pick up Price.

Price, who leads the American League with seven wins, gave up a season-high five runs in a five-inning outing he called "brutal." He labored through a 41-pitch first in which Pedro Feliz hit a three-run homer.

Jaso said Price looked phenomenal warming up in the bullpen, "the best stuff I've ever seen." But Price was pulled for a pinch-hitter after a season-low 88 pitches.

"I just didn't throw very well, and they made me pay," Price said. "Today was about the offense."

Zobrist and Houston native Carl Crawford, the team's hottest hitters in May, sparked the lineup. Zobrist picked up three hits, including a solo homer in the third, and Crawford had two hits with three steals.

Then came Jaso, who tied it in the fifth with a two-run homer to rightfield. He said Astros starter Bud Norris had gotten him to pop out in the third with the same up-and-in fastball. This time, he was ready.

"As a catcher, I probably would have called the same pitch," Jaso said. "It's just how baseball works sometimes."

The Rays tagged reliever Brian Moehler for the two go-ahead runs in the sixth, and Jaso added the two-run triple in the eighth thanks to another great at-bat against Chris Sampson.

Sampson "made some pretty close pitches I was taking with two strikes," Jaso said. "I'm glad the umpire hung in there and saw it my way."

A lot has been going Jaso's way as he has reached base in 11 of his past 15 plate appearances. Dan Wheeler, one of five Rays relievers to combine to give up just one run over the final four innings, credited Jaso's defense, both in blocking pitches in the dirt and throwing out Pence trying to steal in the seventh, preventing the tying run from getting into scoring position.

Said Wheeler: "You just can't say enough good things about (Jaso)."

Joe Smith can be reached at

John Jaso stars as Tampa Bay Rays bail out David Price, beat Houston Astros 05/23/10 [Last modified: Monday, May 24, 2010 7:22am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  2. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule


    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]
  3. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans


    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  4. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?


    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  5. Rays at Twins, 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Minneapolis

    The Heater

    Today: at Twins

    2:10, Target Field, Minneapolis

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun, 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)