The Rays were able to take the second game of a three-game set against the Giants by a score of 2-1 in dramatic walk-off fashion, in front of an impressive crowd of 31,969 fans at the Trop, Saturday night. Wil Myers drove in the game winning RBI with the bases loaded in the the bottom of the tenth, his first career walk-off. And though I wish the Rays could have tagged The Freak for more than a run, it was pretty damn cool to see a classic pitching duel between two former Cy Young Award winners.
The Rays ace pitched nine innings of 5 H/1 ER/o BB/5 K ball, however Price wasn’t in line for the win at the end of his outing thanks to a 1-1 tie. Don’t let that detract from his performance, Price was excellent. Leaning heavily on his fastball and sinker (46 thrown, 33 for strikes, 1 swings and misses), an impressive change-up (24 thrown, 18 for strikes, 4 swings and misses), and a cutter (26 thrown, 20 for strikes, four swings and misses) that had a lot of movement, Price pitched to contact — once again — inducing 15 weakly hit pop-outs, and largely shutting down any Giants threats that may have come his way. The only real thorns in the side of David Price and the Rays were Jeff Francoeur , Hunter Pence, and Joaquin Arias. The three of which went a combined 6-for-12 with a run, an RBI, and a three doubles.
This isn’t to say that Price was perfect, he wasn’t. Price got in trouble in the third inning (inevitably giving up the Giants lone run on a Brandon Crawford RBI single to center, easily plating Francoeur from second), the fifth when San Francisco threatened with a pair of runners in scoring position, and the eighth when Francoeur found his way to third with one out. However, Price made the big pitch in each of those innings, inducing a number of ground-ball outs including an inning ending double play in the third.
Incidentally, the Price of late isn’t the dominant pitcher of previous years. Before you get all hot and bothered, I’m referring to Price’s overall K/9 being down. However, the results have spoken for themselves. Price has never been as efficient as he is now, nor has he posted four complete games in a one month, seven start, stretch. Averaging eight innings per start in his last seven outings, I’ll gladly take this Price.
On the other side of the coin, Lincecum was also very good. Though The Freak gave up six hits, they were all singles which forced the Rays into a position to play small ball. Only three Rays — Jose Molina, Kelly Johnson, and Yunel Escobar — were able to get into scoring position, limiting the number of Tampa Bay scoring threats, while only one runner crossed the plate (Jose Molina on a one out fielders choice at second in the third). Tampa Bay mounted two major threats against Lincecum, however he, like his counterpart, was able to limit the damage to only one run.
The Rays mounted threats in the eighth and ninth innings against Santiago Casilla, Sandy Rosario, and Javier López. But Tampa Bay came away empty handed, forcing the game to into extra innings. The good guys were finally able to put together a real scoring threat in the tenth inning against reliever Jean Machi.
Machi walked Desmond Jennings to start the tenth. The speedy center fielder took advantage of the situation by stealing second with Ben Zobrist at the plate. With Jennings already in scoring position, Bruce Bochy called for an intentional walk of Zobrist to bring an 0-for-3 Evan Longoria to the plate. That plan backfired though. Machi walked Longo on four poorly located pitches setting up their ultimate downfall. With the bases juiced, Wil Myers saw one pitch before he sent an 0-1 meatball over the plate to deep center, driving in Jennings for the win. The Rays won in dramatic walk-off fashion.
The New What Next
The Rays will look to close out the series against the Giants with Roberto Hernandez on the bump. Robo will butt heads with the 4-8 Barry Zito, as he attempts to follow up his excellent complete game start Tuesday with another quality start. You can read about the pitching match-up here.
Rays 8/4/13 Starting Lineup
- Maddon has Fuld in center field today, hitting ninth. Desmond Jennings was pulled from the lineup with a sprained finger, and Ben Zobrist will take his spot in the order. Per Marc Topkin, Jennings isn’t sure if he hit his finger on a base or a defender. Jennings’ finger is thankfully not broken, and will see the doctor. The Rays don’t anticipate Jennings being out long.
- Fernando Rodney is now 4-2 on the year after putting together another scary outing Friday night. Rodney gave up a double to Hunter Pence to start the inning. In turn, Pence ended up at third while the Giants threatened with runners in scoring position with two outs.
- Moore played catch from 60 feet this morning, saying, that “It went well.” He is expected to go on the road trip, and is eyeing a mid-August return.
- Did I mention that there were 31,969 fans at the Trop last night? I can’t recall. This was the fifth largest non-opening day crowd in the last three years for the Rays. Make sure you tweet good old Dick Vitale at @DickieV acknowledging as much.