BY: John Mamola
A three run top of the eighth inning was the difference as the Rays offense did just enough to gain David Price his first win of the season with a 8-3 win over the Chicago White Sox. The victory over Chicago splits the four game series as the Rays will now enjoy a day off before heading to Kansas City on Tuesday.
Price did not get the Rays off to the start he had planned on a Sunday afternoon in the Windy City. In the White Sox half of the first, following an Alex Rios single and a walk to Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn came through for the pale hose with an RBI single to center field. Dunn had come into the game batting .063 against left handed pitchers, but followed up his solo home run last night against Matt Moore with another tally for the White Sox.
The Rays offense answered back in their half of the third inning on a solo home run by backup backstop Jose Lobaton. Lobaton’s solo shot tied the game at one a piece, however the bullet that has bitten Price all year long bit him again in the White Sox half of the fourth inning.
Sox first baseman Paul Konerko gave the White Sox the lead in the bottom of the third with a two run blast off to Price to make it a 3-1 Chicago lead. Konerko’s home run came with two outs in the frame, which were the 13th and 14th runs allowed by Price with two outs. Price has allowed 22 runs total this season.
Price then settled back into a groove retiring 13 of the next 14 batters he faced, including nine straight at one point. The Rays offense struck back in support of their ace in their half of the sixth inning as Matt Joyce blasted a two run bomb to tie the game at three a piece.
The Rays put the game away in the top final two innings of the game scoring five runs against a sub-par White Sox bullpen. Sean Rodriguez led off the eighth inning with a single to center field, only to advance on a wild pitch by reliever Nate Jones. Jones then walked Joyce to give the Rays two on with one out and Ben Zobrist coming to the plate.
Zorilla came through in the clutch with an RBI single to center field giving the Rays their first lead of the game at 4-3. Three batters later and with the bases loaded, Ryan Roberts drove in two more runs for Tampa Bay on a bloop pop fly to right field dropped by right fielder Alex Rios. Joyce and Zobrist scored on the error by Rios, and the Rays had themselves a 6-3 lead.
The Rays didn’t stop there as Zobrist added another RBI single in the ninth, and Evan Longoria with a RBI double gave the Rays a 8-3 lead. Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney came in to close out the game with two scoreless innings, and nab the win for David Price.
Price finished the game after seven innings, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out nine.
The Rays will enjoy a day off in Kansas City before opening a three game series against the Royals on Tuesday night. Former Rays pitcher James Shields will take on his former mates, as Alex Cobb goes for the Rays. Catch all the action on 620 WDAE beginning at 7:30pm, with an 8:10pm first pitch.