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)

Price, Longoria back as Rays rout Astros

HOUSTON — There were plenty of superlatives expressed for just how good left-hander David Price was during Tuesday's anticipated return from the disabled list.

"Spectacular," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "A pretty complete performance."

"That's called Mr. Price," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "I mean, that's why he's a Cy Young winner, and he pitched like it."

But the most encouraging, and meaningful, words came from Price, who threw seven three-hit innings — in just 70 pitches — striking out a season-high 10 in an 8-0 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park.

"That's probably the best I've felt on a baseball field maybe my entire life, honestly," Price said. "I feel like that's the most control I've had of a baseball game in a very long time. I think that was better than I threw at any point last year."

Price exceeded all expectations in his first start since mid May, when he went on the disabled list with a left triceps strain. Maddon had him limited to 90 pitches, saying if he went six innings, it'd be "outstanding," just wanting him to feel comfortable and in control.

But Price knew he was in for a special night when he felt good in his bullpen session. He said he was a bit nervous, his knees shaking until after he came into the dugout after a 1-2-3 first inning.

But Maddon said he had seen Price that under control, of both his emotions and pitches, and focused since last year's Cy Young season.

And with Price looking like an ace — attacking the strike zone, hitting the mid 90s with his fastball and issuing zero walks — it was an encouraging sign for a Rays rotation that is starting to come together.

Tampa Bay (45-39) has allowed 16 runs combined in its past nine games and posted back-to-back shutouts for the second time this season (and seventh time in club history).

"He's definitely going to bolster the rest of the pitching staff, everyone is going to gain a lot more confidence and courage from him being out there," Maddon said. "Moving forward, having him there, the anchor is back. It makes everybody better.

"For us to really get to the World Series this year, we have to pitch at a very high level. We're not going to do that without (Price) in there."

And the Rays offense gave Price more than enough support. Desmond Jennings provided the biggest spark with a two-run homer and tying a career high with four RBIs.

Maddon loved how Price hit 95-96 mph and commanded all of his pitches. He said Price could have gone longer in the game, but after much debate, they decided the seven up and downs were enough for his first outing.

Price has pitched in much bigger games, with bigger stakes, but considering his early season struggles and the trying six weeks on the disabled list, he said this was the most satisfied he has been after an outing.

"The way the first half of my season went, the first nine starts, makes it kind of tough to do anything — sleep at night," Price said. "That's not me.

"And I felt like I got back to myself (Tuesday). It felt good."

Price, Longoria back as Rays rout Astros 07/02/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 12:53am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Justin Timberlake in Super Bowl halftime show for first time since 'wardrobe malfunction'


    Justin Timberlake has finally been invited back to the Super Bowl halftime show, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson caused a national controversy.

    Singer Janet Jackson covers her breast as Justin Timberlake holds part of her costume after her outfit came undone during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII in Houston in 2004. The NFL announced Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, that Timberlake will headline the Super Bowl halftime show Feb. 4 in Minnesota, 14 years after the "wardrobe malfunction" with Janet Jackson cause a national controversy. [Associated Press]
  2. No more looking at Jim Harbaugh, but should we look at Notre Dame?


    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Overheard Sunday morning in a hotel elevator, among two Penn State fans: "Did you see Coach Harbaugh's interview? He looked shellshocked. One of those coaches with his job on the line."

    Jim Harbaugh and Michigan are falling out of the national conversation; Sunday they fell out of the AP rankings after a blowout loss to Penn State. [Detroit Free Press/TNS]
  3. NFL Week 7: What we learned


    Are the Purple People Eaters back in Minnesota? The Vikings sacked Joe Flacco five times and held the Ravens to 208 total yards in a 24-16 home victory, their third straight win. QB Case Keenum looked ordinary with a 67.7 passer rating after completing 20-of-31 for 188 yards and an interception. Kai Forbath …

    Trainers, top, check Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas after Thomas was hurt in the second half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane) OHTD122
  4. Bills' comeback against Bucs a win for the process


    ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It hasn't taken Sean McDermott long to understand how to play to his base. Asked if the Bills had "gotten away with one" Sunday, the first-year coach gushed about his team reflecting the character of the town.

    Under first-year coach Sean McDermott, the Bills are 3-0 at home for the first time in six years. “I love playing here,” he says.
  5. No. 18 UCF closes in on USF, which drops to No. 17


    USF remained ahead of UCF in the Associated Press Top 25 poll released Sunday — just barely.