The opponent didn't matter. All anyone should have been concerned with were the results from David Price in his first start since coming off the disabled list. And, man, were they impressive.
He worked a nearly flawless seven innings, facing just one batter over the minimum, allowing three hits, zero walks, and striking out 10 while throwing just 70 pitches. His fastball, which had averaged just 93.4 mph this season, sat at nearly 96 tonight with pinpoint accuracy. The Astros may be bad, but with the type of control Price showed tonight it would have been hard for any team to score. Look at how many fastballs, of any variety, he was able to stick on the outside corner against right handed hitters.
He started off the game throwing nearly all fastballs and began mixing in his changeup and cutter as the game progressed. In talking to the media after the game Price said ""That's probably the best I've felt on a baseball field maybe in my entire life, honestly." with Maddon adding that it was a "pretty complete performance." All three of the Astros hits were ground balls, with one being an infield single. It's exactly the type of performance the Rays need to see from Price if they're going to attempt to compete for a playoff spot.
The offense exploded for a second straight game, with Desmond Jennings leading the charge. Batting in the leadoff spot, he collected three hits, scored two runs, stole a base, and drove in four. His two RBI single to right field with two out in the fourth inning gave the Rays a three run lead. The home run he hit in the sixth was his 10th of the season, putting him just four away from surpassing his 2012 total. Yunel Escobar added a two run double and per usual made a few outstanding defensive plays. Ben Zobrist would be the only starter not to reach base.
Evan Longoria went 2-4 in his return to the lineup after missing the past three games with inflammation of his plantar fasciitis. Lucky for the Rays he didn't have to run very much. Kelly Johnson continued to flash a pretty good glove at third base in Longoria's absence. The win coupled with the Baltimore loss moves the Rays within two games of second place in the division.