Make us your home page
Instagram

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

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rookie pitcher David Price leads Tampa Bay Rays to win over Detroit Tigers

Akinori Iwamura, in his first game back since knee surgery, fields Miguel Cabrera’s grounder and throws him out in the third.

Associated Press

Akinori Iwamura, in his first game back since knee surgery, fields Miguel Cabrera’s grounder and throws him out in the third.

DETROIT — David Price was as stunned as any Ray by Friday's trade of Scott Kazmir. The two lefties had become close friends, riding to the Trop together from their Harbour Island condos, sharing tales and time, developing a routine to play catch the day before each of Price's starts.

Price dragged Kazmir out on a rainy field one last time Friday afternoon, then after the trade to the Angels was formalized had Kazmir sign a Rays cap he plans to display at his house.

Saturday, Price gave Kazmir something of a parting gift to be proud of, a sizzling seven-plus inning start in the Rays' 3-1 victory.

"We needed it," Price said. "The team might have been a little shocked, deflated, whatever emotions were running though after (Friday) with Kazmir getting traded. So that was big."

Price did most of the work as the Rays halted a two-game slide and improved to 70-58. They failed, however, to gain ground in the AL wild-card race, still trailing Boston by 4½ games after the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 3-2.

But not all. Evan Longoria — dropped to sixth in a shaken-up batting order that included the return of Akinori Iwamura — made a couple of spectacular plays at third, and shortstop Jason Bartlett and rightfielder Gabe Gross each lent a hand.

And though there wasn't much offense — the Rays' first game in more than five years without an extra-base hit by either team — they were uncharacteristically opportunistic. They took a 2-0 lead in the third, scoring once before and once after the inning was extended with a passed ball on strike three to Pat Burrell, and added an insurance run in the ninth.

J.P. Howell, shaving the black-dyed beard he'd had in blowing his past two saves, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to notch his 16th.

"It was good to get back on the winning train, back on track," Carlos Peña said. "Okay, okay. Everything's okay, let's go."

Price tamed one of the league's more threatening lineups and made it look relatively easy, allowing just one run and five singles over a career-high 71/3 innings by relying primarily on a fastball clocked often in the 96-97 mph range.

"I love that," manager Joe Maddon said. "I love when you've got a power guy with a power fastball that's willing to challenge hitters."

Price mixed in some changeups and just a few sliders in his 106 pitches and was impressive enough that catcher Dioner Navarro called it the best of his 17 starts.

Price, who improved to 7-6, 4.63 and picked up his first career road win, said his improvement is just a matter of doing what he does best: throwing his fastball where he wants to.

"Just pitching like I have my entire life, that's probably about all it comes down to," he said. "When I got called up (in late May) and even in Durham, I wasn't throwing like myself. I don't know what it was. … I was feeling sorry for myself in the beginning of the year; I went about it all wrong. I've picked it up here recently."

Maddon wasn't ready to call the just-turned 24-year-old fully developed, but he has been encouraged by what he has done and how he has done it. "He does not shy away from the moment," Maddon said. "He's good with the moment. Doesn't surprise me."

Price stopped short of formally dedicating Saturday's game to Kazmir, but it was clear he was on his mind.

"It's tough," Price said. "But it's baseball, and it's life."

As he's finding.

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

Rays 3

Tigers 1

Rookie pitcher David Price leads Tampa Bay Rays to win over Detroit Tigers 08/29/09 [Last modified: Monday, August 31, 2009 1:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Former Rays/current Cubs manager Joe Maddon featured on NBC Sunday news show

    Blogs

    Former Rays and current Cubs manager Joe Maddon will be featured on this week's "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly" show at 7 p.m. on NBC, the Harry Smith interview covering not just Maddon's on-field accomplishments but his extensive efforts to help his hometown of Hazleton, Pa.

    "Here's what's so …

    Joe Maddon talking with NBC News' Harry Smith.
  2. For starters: Souza returns to lineup

    Blogs

     

  3. Ronde Barber: Want intimidation? Look at past Bucs teams

    Bucs

    Ronde Barber says these days "it's hard to find throwbacks, where you go, 'That guy is a badass.' Where do you find that now? It's such a show-off sport." (Times 2012)
  4. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.