It was a long six weeks on the sidelines. David Price had never been on the disabled list. On Tuesday, he made a triumphant return to the Rays’ starting rotation. Price was superb in leading the Rays to an 8-0 win over the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Price struck out 10 over 7 scoreless innings to get his 2nd win of the season. Price and three relievers combined on a 4-hit shutout. Erik Bedard (3-4) took the loss. Through the first two games of this series, the Rays have outscored the Astros 20-0.
Rays got on the board early in the 1st inning. Wil Myers hit a sac fly to deep right to score Desmond Jennings to make it 1-0 Rays. It could’ve been more because Tampa Bay had the bases loaded and one out. Myers’ sac fly was followed by a Yunel Escobar strikeout to end the opening frame. The Rays added to their lead in the 4th inning when Jennings came through with a clutch 2-run single with two out to give the Rays a 3-0 lead. In the 6th, Jennings came up big once again. He launched a long 2-run homer to left off reliever Josh Fields to give Tampa Bay a 5-0 lead. That was Jennings’ 10th homerun of the season. Jennings went 3 for 5 with 4 RBI on the night. Evan Longoria made his return after missing 3 games with a bad foot. Longo went 2 for 4 with a walk. Escobar added a 2-run double in the 9th to make it 7-0. James Loney followed it up with an RBI double to make it 8-0. Loney extended his hitting streak to 13 games.
Price looked fresh and rested. His fastball velocity was consistently in the mid 90s throughout the evening. He threw just 9 pitches in the opening inning to retire the Astros in order. He threw just 8 pitches in the second inning, which ended in a 5-4-3 double play. In the 3rd, Price struck out two batters and then allowed an infield single to Jimmy Paredes. Price then picked off Paredes to end the inning. Price had an easy 1-2-3 inning in the fourth. His pitch count was just 36 after 4 innings. In the 5th, Price allowed a single to Carlos Corporan but nothing more. He struck out Ronny Cedeno to end the inning. Price had just 48 pitches thrown through five innings. We saw more of the same in the 6th inning from Price. He struck out two in the inning and threw just 12 pitches in that frame. Price struck out two in setting down the helpless Astros in the 7th inning. Price was done after 7 innings and allowed just three hits in throwing just 70 pitches. Jamey Wright, Joel Peralta and Kyle Farnsworth finished the game off for the Rays, who improve to 45-39 on the season. The Astros drop to 30-54.
On Wednesday night, the Rays and Astros play game three of their 4-game series from Houston. 4-9 Roberto Hernandez throws for the Rays against 5-7 Bud Norris. Our coverage begins at 7pm with the Suncoast Hyundai Inside Pitch on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM, your home for Rays baseball.