Behind David Price The Rays Beat Pirates 5-1 To Avoid Sweep
David Price Fans 11 Before Exiting Game In Ninth
The Tampa Bay Rays needed a victory on Wednesday afternoon in order to avoid being swept for the seventh time this season. Thanks to a solid pitching performance by David Price (6-7, 3.63 ERA) and timely hitting against Charlie Morton (4-9, 3.41 ERA) the Rays took the final game of the series by a final score of 5-1. The victory improves the Rays record to 32-48 while the Pirates drop to 39-39.
The Pirate bats that has pushed across 14 runs in the first two games of the series were silenced by David Price who was possibly making his last start at Tropicana Field as a member of the Rays.
“It’s always fun to watch pitchers command the baseball, and when it’s against you, obviously the challenge becomes greater on the offensive side.” Pirates manger Clint Hurdle said. “I’m sure it’s been said before, but Price was right today.”
After Price became the first Rays starter to keep the Pirates off the board in the top of the first the Rays offense came through against Charlie Morton plating three runs.
Ben Zobrist delivered an RBI triple to score Desmond Jennings who had singled to lead off the game. Evan Longoria drove in Zobrist from third with a ground ball to short and reached base when Jordy Mercer couldn’t field it cleanly. Longoria moved to second on a James Loney single and to third when Morton hit Brandon Guyer to load the bases for Kevin Kiermaeir who scored Longoria on a sacrifice fly.
In holding down the lead Price received plenty of defensive support. “I had a ton of defensive plays behind me. Longo making that catch down the left field line, jumping over the wall, Zobrist with that double play in the second and the play he made in, I think, the first.” Price said. “Those are all huge plays. Desmond in I think the sixth or the seventh. Those are game-changers.”
After the first inning Charlie Morton settled in and kept the Rays off the scoreboard through seven innings. He was replaced in the eighth inning by Jason Grilli who allowed RBI singles to James Loney and Kevin Kiermaier to give Price and the Rays a 5-0 lead heading into the ninth.
Price retired Josh Harrison for the first out but saw his shutout and chance at a complete game leave on a Andrew McCutchen solo home run. Jake McGee came in and retired the final two batter to preserve the Rays victory.
David Price worked 8.1 innings allowing one run (earned) on five hits striking out 11 and walking one. The game marked the fifth consecutive start that he has recorded double-digit strikeouts becoming the first pitcher to achieve that benchmark since Johan Santana from June 20–July 11, 2004.
David Price Sets Franchise Record For K’s In A Month & Notes
He now has 54 strikeouts in the month of June breaking the franchise record for strikeouts in a month previous held by Scott Kazmir who had 50 in August of 2007.
Today was his eighth double digit strikeout game in his team’s first 80 games. He became the first pitcher to do this since the Diamondbacks Curt Schilling had nine such games and the first American League pitcher since the Red Sox Pedro Martinez who had nine in 2001.
He is on pace for a remarkable 292 strikeouts, a mark not reached since the Diamondbacks Randy Jonson (334) and Curt Schilling (316) in 2002 and hasn’t been reached by an AL Pitcher since the Red Sox Pedro Martinez (313) in 1999.
The Rays franchise record for strikeouts in a single season belongs to Scott Kazmir who fanned 239 in 2007