The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Chicago White Sox 3-1 to earn a series sweep and improve to a season high 9 games over .500 at 49-40. The Chicago White Sox lost their 9th game in 11 days and fall to 34-51 on the year.
David Price (3-4, 4.18 ERA) tossed the Rays first complete game of the year and the first since James Shields final start against the Orioles in Game #161 last season (October 2, 2012 vs Baltimore). He allowed 8 hits (7 singles), 1R/1ER on a home run by Josh Phegley, striking out 5, and walking 0. He was once again pitch efficient needing only 98 pitches, 72 for strikes, and threw a first pitch strike to 22 of 33 hitters he faced.
His velocity was slightly down compared to his last start against the Astros. According to Brooksbaseball.net he threw 46 two-seam fastballs at an average velocity of 93.97 with a maximum of 96.42. In his start against the Astros he threw 26 two-seam fastballs at an average velocity of 95.68 with a maximum of 97.26.
Jose Molina said the difference between the start in Houston and his start today was command. “The one in Houston was more, he hit the spot better, today he missed some at crucial times, but hey most of the time he was good.”
The key to his performance today was his command of the strike zone. Maddon said, “He pounded the strike zone. Zero walks…maybe he did not have the same sharpness on the outside edge, maybe not. But really good stuff. Got stronger as the game progressed.”
For the 8th game in a row the Rays played error free baseball and have only committed one error in their last 13 games. The defense behind him did not go overlooked by David Price, “Just like five days ago, having that defense out there and having the offense-getting that one run in first makes my job a lot easier to just go out there and make my pitches.” Shortstop Yunel Escobar continues to shine at shortstop playing in his 45th straight errorless game at shortstop just 7 games behind the franchise leader Chris Gomez 52 game streak back in 2002.
A big part of jumping out to early leads has been the play of Desmond Jennings since returning to the leadoff spot. In the 7 games since returning to the top spot in the lineup Jennings has hit .414 (12 for 29) with 9 runs scored, 5 RBI, 5 walks, and 4 stolen bases. After the game Joe Maddon said “Desmond has just been doing that. Desmond has been really working that leadoff rle extremely well. Not only hitting the ball, but his at bats-he’s been drawing some walks, he’s been working deep counts, he’s getting on base again more often which means more stolen bases andm ore havoc. It’s all about him.”
The lead was extended to 2-0 in the bottom of the 5th on rally that started with 2-out and nobody on base. Yunel Escobar singled, moved to second on a walk to Desmond Jennings, and came in to score on a broken bat single past a diving 3rd basemen.
Josh Phegley delivered his first career home run, a 2-out solo shot, in the top of the 6th to cut the Rays lead in half.
The Rays added an insurance run in the bottom half of the 7th to extend the lad to 3-1. Luke Scott led the inning off with a triple off the top of the wall in right and came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Jose Molina.
James Loney went 0 for 3 on the afternoon and sees his 16 game hitting streak come to an end. His hit streak tie Evan Longoria for the longest streak by a Rays player in 2013 (May 6 through 22nd). The team record belongs to Jason Bartlett at 19 games in 2009.
John Danks (2-6, 4.21 ERA) took the loss for the White Sox.