Price goes the distance in Rays' win over Red Sox
BOSTON (AP) David Price is in quite a groove, one perhaps even better than his 2012 American League Cy Young Award winning season.
Price pitched a five-hitter for his third complete game of the season, Wil Myers had a two-run single, and the surging Tampa Bay Rays won for the 19th time in 22 games by beating the Boston Red Sox 5-1 on Wednesday night.
Price (5-5) needed only 97 pitches - 72 strikes - for his seventh career complete game. He struck out four and didn't walk a batter.
Since returning from a 47-day stint on the disabled list because of a triceps strain, he is 4-1 with a 1.76 ERA in five starts - with three of the last four complete games.
"Absolutely," Price said when asked if he is better now than any time a year ago. "Last year, I feel like I had complete control of two pitches. Right now, honestly, I feel like I have four pitches I can throw at any time."
The 27-year old left-hander overpowered Boston's hitters, relying on a hard mid-90s fastball and sharp slider to lower his career ERA to 1.96 in Fenway Park. That is the lowest mark among active pitchers with at least 20 innings there.
"I didn't know what to expect when he came back," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's just hard to imagine a guy pitching better than he is now. I don't think I've seen it in regards to quality of pitches and stuff, location against a good hitting ballclub."
Even Price, 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA last season, feels like the club's pitchers are dominating at an amazing pace.
"It's just like hitting," he said. "You hear it all the time - hitting is contagious. So is pitching. We've been on a good groove, It's been fun. We feel like we have five guys that can go out there and win anytime. I don't think there are many teams in the majors that can say that."
Since dropping into the AL East basement by percentage points on June 23, the Rays have relied on starting pitching to go 22-5. Tampa Bay's starters have a majors' best 2.21 ERA during the run.
"He was throwing strikes all night long," Boston manager John Farrell said of Price. "I think up until about the sixth inning he was right around 80 percent strikes, which is almost unheard of. He never gave us a chance to build any kind of inning. Tip your hat. He pitched one heck of a game against us."
James Loney had two hits and drove in a run for the Rays. Tampa Bay moved within a half-game of the AL East-leading Red Sox.
Mike Napoli homered for Boston, which lost for the fifth time in eight games.
Felix Doubront (7-4) gave up three runs and six hits. He walked two and struck out six in 6 2-3 innings. It was his 13th straight game allowing three runs or fewer, the best stretch by a Red Sox left-hander since at least 1920.
"The bottom line is we're still in first place," Doubront said. "That's how I look at it. Give credit where credit is due. David Price pitched a great game."
Boston lost for the fifth time in 15 games against the Rays.
Tampa Bay jumped ahead with three runs in the third on Myers' two-run single and Sean Rodriguez's sacrifice fly. Myers' bloop fell into shallow center after the Rays loaded the bases on two singles and a fielder's choice.
In the seventh, Napoli homered over the seats above the Green Monster and out of the park.
Loney and Jose Molina each had RBI singles off Matt Thornton to push the Rays' lead to 5-1 in the eighth.
Like in the opening game of the series when left-hander Matt Moore threw a two-hitter in a 3-0 victory, the Red Sox had trouble stringing hits together.
In the fifth, Napoli had a leadoff double, but the next three hitters flied out. Boston also had leadoff singles in the second and fourth, but Price retired the side easily both times.
Doubront had been 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA in his previous six starts, allowing two earned runs or fewer in all of them.
NOTES: Maddon juggled his lineup, moving Evan Longoria up to the No. 2 spot. "Hopefully he'll see a different type of pitching," Maddon said. Longoria had homered in three of his previous five games, but hit just .136 in his previous 18 with one homer. Maddon inserted hot rookie Myers in the cleanup spot. ... Boston sends John Lackey (7-7, 2.95 ERA) against Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson (9-3, 4.62 ERA) in the series finale on Thursday. ... Rays highly touted prospect RHP Taylor Guerrieri underwent ulnar collateral ligament surgery on Wednesday in Pensacola, Fla. He is expected to miss the rest of this season and part of next season.
Updated July 24, 2013
Dr. Tony Schena joined the show to give insight into what lies ahead for Rob Gronkowski. He said a tough road is in front of the Patriots tight end.
We discuss the improbable win over the Browns and the loss of Rob Gronkowski with Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick on Patriots Monday.
Ninkovich sits in with Mut and Merloni to look back at yesterday’s comeback win against the Browns. Rob also explains the range of emotions the team experienced after Rob Gronkowski suffered a potentially season ending injury.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
It's a baseball round table from the winter meetings in Orlando, Rob Bradford talks with Ian Browne, Scott Lauber, Tim Britton, and Jason Mastrodonato.
Buster joins Mut and Merloni live at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Buster explains that the market for Stephen Drew has cooled off considerably and executives around the league believe he will return to Boston.
Hazen talks with Mut and Merloni about the on-going offseason process. Mike explains how the Red Sox dove in to free agency immediately after the team’s World Series win. He also explains how the team creates opportunities for young players that are ready to make the jump to the Major League level.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
Our favorite segment of the week, Answer the question Kirk. Today he answered how many sexual partners he has had.
Our departing producer Thom and our new producer Craig took to the scale to see who was bigger.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. Today the guys discussed the execution of Kim Jong Un's uncle in North Korea.
Jackie MacMullan joins the show to discuss the return of Doc Rivers to Boston and what really happened during the offseason that led to Doc's departure.
Brick joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Shawn Thornton's on ice actions last week against the Penguins and what type of suspension he may be facing.
Mut and Merloni react to Doc Rivers' emotional return to Boston and they discuss the way he left the Celtics.
We debate the hit, and what Shawn Thornton deserves to get and will get for a suspension from the NHL when he faces his discipline hearing on Friday for his K/O hit of the Penguins Brooks Orpik.
We check in with Jack Edwards of NESN and focus on the Bruins, and more specifically Sean Thornton's upcoming discipline hearing for his cheap-shot hit on Brooks Orpik of the Penguins.
We focus on multi-sport athletes in today's four topics at 4PM.
Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
No Jenny Dell today, but Mikey's back and we're answering questions bitches!
We answer what you ask... and by we mean Salk, Holley and special guest Jenny Dell of NESN!
Answering questions, its what we do.
Buster joins Mut and Merloni live at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Buster explains that the market for Stephen Drew has cooled off considerably and executives around the league believe he will return to Boston.More from this show
We discuss the comers and goers for the Red Sox and the rest of MLB with former GM Steve Phillips, now of MLB Radio on Sirius XM.More from this show
Hazen talks with Mut and Merloni about the on-going offseason process. Mike explains how the Red Sox dove in to free agency immediately after the team’s World Series win. He also explains how the team creates opportunities for young players that are ready to make the jump to the Major League level.More from this show
Jackie MacMullan joins the show to discuss the return of Doc Rivers to Boston and what really happened during the offseason that led to Doc's departure.More from this show