In front of more than 250 people from his home town of Murfreesboro, Tennessee - including his parents- David Price did his best to show off early on. Price featured a fastball that reached 98 miles per hour several times. He featured it, went back to it, and then threw it again just incase somebody in the large group wearing PRICE 14 shirts missed it. Of his first 38 pitches thrown, 36 of them were fastballs.
The result: a few hits allowed (8), a few runs given up (3), a few walks handed out (3), and a decent amount of strikeouts (7).
After throwing fastballs almost exclusively the first time through the lineup, Price started dropping his 77 mph curveball with great success. He threw 27 curveballs on the evening - 16 of them for strikes. In the fourth inning while facing Chipper Jones, Price threw four curveballs in a sequence of six pitches. He ended the at bat with 77 mph bender that left the veteran third basemen frozen for a strike out.
Price teetered on the brink of destruction all night. After the offense spotted him a 4-0 lead, he would allow a man in scoring position in each of his five innings, and was chased from the game after throwing 113 pitches in those five innings. He was the victim of some shady work behind that plate due to the oven mitt of John Jaso, but was able to pull off a Houdini in the second inning (escaping bases loaded no-out situation without allowing a run). From there, he tip-toed around major damage for the rest of the evening.
While the game was delayed two and a half hours because of inclement weather, the Rays' offense was right on time. In the first inning, they put up four runs, including two runs off the bat of Evan Longoria who smoked a no-doubt home run off Kenshin Kawakami. The Rays would get five runs off of the Braves starter in five innings, however, only two of them were earned. The Braves made four errors on the night - including two by Kawakami. Chris Resop "relieved" Kawakami, but allowed five runs of his own in two innings of work.
Longoria did the heavy lifting with the only Tampa Bay home run. However, the offense was a balanced attack. As a unit, they scored 10 runs on 12 hits. Each starter, sans David Price, registered a hit and five different players drove in a run. B.J. Upton, Sean Rodriguez, and Carl Crawford each had a double. Crawford also snagged his fifth triple of the season in the seventh inning.
I know some people prefer the National League brand of baseball, but I don't see how pitching around the eighth hitter in the order to face a pitcher in a crucial situation makes the game better. Case in point, David Price went 0-3 with five men left on-base including three in scoring position.
Unfortunately, by the time the Rays game started, the Yankees had already put another win in the books against our friends from Philadelphia. The 10-4 victory over the Braves keeps the Rays in a tie for first place in the AL East and the best overall record in baseball.