Price became the AL’s first nine-game winner, backed by three Tampa Bay home runs, and the Rays beat the Toronto Blue Jays 10-1 on Wednesday night with another big night at the plate.
“He was kind of struggling,” Rays catcher Dioner Navarro(notes) said. “He didn’t have it, but he gave us a shot. That’s what we asked for. Price has such great stuff. He can get you out anyway. He battled through.”
Price (9-2) allowed one run and four hits in six innings with five walks and four strikeouts. The left-hander has won all three of his starts this season against the Blue Jays, giving up three runs—one earned—over 23 innings.
“He was a little bit off for his location,” Toronto manager Cito Gaston said. “He threw a lot of pitches, but when we got guys on base he reached back and got a little bit more.”
Price threw 104 pitches. He is 5-0 in six career starts against Toronto.
“I just couldn’t pound the zone as much as I wanted to,” he said. “That was my biggest problem.”
“They’re a good team. I don’t know what else you can say about them,” Marcum said. “They find ways to put the barrel on the ball. One through nine they’re a good lineup.”
After not allowing more than one home run in 15 straight games, the Blue Jays gave up two on Tuesday and three Wednesday.
Kelly Shoppach(notes) had an RBI single and Rodriguez hit a run-scoring double to put the Rays up 2-0 in the first. Shoppach hit a sacrifice fly, Rodriguez had another RBI double and Zobrist drove in a run with a single to make it 5-0 in the third.
Rodriguez added an RBI single during the sixth.
Toronto loaded the bases with one out in the fourth, but failed to score when Mike McCoy(notes) struck out and Fred Lewis(notes) hit a grounder to second. Lyle Overbay(notes) had a run-scoring double in the sixth.
The Blue Jays have been outscored 19-1 over the last two games. Toronto has just nine hits, including four on Wednesday, in its last three games.
“Right now we’re struggling with the bats. We’re struggling with the pitching,” Gaston said.
NOTES: It was Tampa Bay’s 2,000th regular-season game. The Rays are 865-1,135. … The Blue Jays activated RHP Jesse Litsch(notes) (right elbow surgery) from the 60-day disabled list and optioned LHP Rommie Lewis(notes) to Triple-A Las Vegas. Litsch will replace LHP Brian Tallet(notes), who will move to the bullpen, in the rotation. … Tampa Bay director of scouting R.J. Harrison planned to begin contract talks Wednesday with representatives for first-round draft pick Josh Sale.