Price Outpitched by Guthrie

By on April 1, 2011

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Shown here on March 27th, Guthrie's last work of spring training, was ready tonight for the Rays. (Photo by Eddie Michels)

St.Petersburg, Fl. (RSEN) –Opening Day in MLB… something like a rite of passage; spring is in full swing  and the boys of summer are ready to put on the show.  Tonight at Tropicana Field was a pre-game to remember.  In what I thought was an early ceremonial first pitch, uh 25 minutes before game time?  Yes, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced to a chorus of boos.  It was almost as it was planned early because the stands were still half empty.  Less boos.

BK Jackson’s saxophone rendition of the National Anthem was outstanding and now with the stands full the sell-out crowd was buzzing as they raised the AL 2010 Champion banner in left field.

Showtime please…     David Price vs. Jeremy Guthrie

Orioles 2B Brian Roberts would be the first batter to step in against Price; first pitch 7:13pm on the East Coast and the Rays season is underway.

The top of the first started out good for Price.  Brian Roberts fouled out to Dan Johnson, Nick Markakis flew to left and Derrick Lee drilled a one-hopper to Reid Brignac who knocked it down and made the assist to first. Price throwing in the upper 90’s and  a 1-2-3 inning throwing just 11 pitches.

The visiting pitcher on the hill Jeremy Guthrie would not be out done in the first, setting the Rays down 1-2-3 on just 5 pitches.

In the 2nd Dan Johnson would drill a one out double off the right-field wall for the Rays first hit of 2011, BJ Upton and Matt Joyce would leave him stranded. 

Top of the 3rd O’s catcher Matt Wieters would strike out swinging. The next batter JJ Hardy would hit a ball to the track in right center that Rays RF Matt Joyce could not catch up with.  It would be a double for Hardy.  With Brian Roberts batting,  a botched pick-off attempt (Price threw the ball in centerfield),  Hardy would advance to third.  Nick Markakis would hit a rope to the gap in left center that BJ Upton made a good play on to hold Markakis to a single but Hardy would score.  1-0 Birds of Baltimore.

In the home half of the 3rd, Guthrie just continued cruising,  striking out Brignac, making John Jaso look real bad with two strikes and then getting him  to reach and lazily hit a soft fly to left.  Ben Zobrist, the last Rays hitter in the inning would strike out like Brignac.

After 55 pitches through 4 innings Price is holding on strong keeping the Rays in the game.  At this point Price has 6 strikeouts, no walks, only giving up the one run on two hits.

The top of the Orioles 5th Price would get himself into trouble.  After getting Mark Reynolds to harmlessly bounce to the mound, Price retires Reynolds with a smooth underhand toss to Dan Johnson.  Then the wheels did not fall off but a slight wobble was detected. Wieters would single and then JJ Hardy would work a free pass.  Brian Roberts would come to the dish. Roberts would make Price work deep into the count, fouling off pitches.  One 96 MPH fastball was pulled fouled, so I the next pitch when Roberts crushed the rawhide to the gap between Upton and Damon there was no surprise.  Price said, “He hit a curve ball.” Damon in an attempt to field the ball he ended up laying on the track and attempted to toss the ball to Upton.  The ball was carelessly behind BJ and Roberts would run 270 feet for a stand up triple while Wieters and Hardy raced home to  score, 3-0 Orioles.   Nick Markakis would hit a routine fly ball to left that would score Roberts, for Markakis it was his second RBI of the night.  4-0 Orioles.

With a four run lead Guthrie came out in the 6th getting Brignac to pop to short and then caught Jaso looking.   It was two horrible at bats for John Jaso.   Ben Zobrist would shoot one between 2nd and 1st for a two out single.  Johnny Damon would then rip a one hopper to Derrick Lee at first who made a nice pick, inning over. Jeremy Guthrie still in control.

David Price would come back to work the top of the seventh sending the 7, 8 and 9 hitters down with fly balls.  Price’s night would be finished; 103 pitches, 1 walk, 7 Ks, 5 hits, 4 runs all earned.

The sell-out crowd of 34,078 roared when BJ Upton lead off the home stanza of the 8th with a double over the head of Orioles centerfielder Adam Jones.  After Matt Joyce flew out to Jones, Reid Brignac would draw a walk.   Then the awful base running of BJ Upton comes into play. Upton is picked off by Guthrie as Upton broke early for third on a steal attempt.   BJ, Caught in a rundown ended with a controversial out call.  Upton was apparently pushed by SS JJ Hardy.  The men in blue did not see it that way and Upton was called out for being out of the base path. BJ said after the game, “I probably should have been a little smarter.”

Leading off the top of the 9th with Jim Johnson on in relief of Guthrie, Ben Zobrist deposits the first pitch in the right field seats, Rays on the board, still trailing by 3 runs, 4-1. Johnson would settle down and strike out Damon then Evan Longoria.  Manny Ramirez would bounce to short game over.

Jeremy Guthrie notches the win with 8 solid innings only giving up 3 hits, walking 1 and striking out 6.  He threw 67 strikes out of 94 pitches.  After the game Johnny Damon was asked of Guthrie’s performance, and said, “He was pretty good. He kept getting the pitch just off the outside corner for strike one. To me, it seems like after he got strike two he would surprise me with a pitch in my wheelhouse but I was definitely looking for something else.  He did his homework.”

David Price, who pitched well only giving up 5 hits, got the loss. Price said after the game, “I felt good…. I got out pitched tonight, that’s for sure. Guthrie was on his game, and whenever guys like that are on their game they are tough to hit.”  Joe Maddon said of Price, “I thought David was really good too, I thought David had some really good stuff very good command of his fastball 1 walk, 7 punched,  the walk to Hardy kind of set up the disaster right there.  He was good too, there was some really good pitching out there.”

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