The Bats Come Alive as Price Gets Lucky 13

By on July 19, 2012

David Price whom notched his league high 13th win today did not allow a hits until Cleveland third baseman Jose Lopez singled in the 5th inning (US PRESSWIRE - Kim Klement)

St. Petersburg, Fla. — The Price was right for the fans in attendance for Thursday’s matinee matchup between the Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians. The Rays, trailing two games to one in the four-game series, took advantage of a struggling Ubaldo Jimenez and scored six runs in a 6-0 win against the Indians.

Jimenez took the loss allowing seven hits and five runs, all earned, and with five walks in five and two-thirds innings pitched. Jimenez dropped to 8-9 on the season with a 5.24 ERA.

The 27,856 fans in attendance, many of whom were summer camp kids, had plenty of reason to scream as the Rays pounded out 11 hits in the win. Luke Scott had a great day, going 2-4 with a double and a homerun that banged off the higher “C-ring” in the third inning. Scott has destroyed the Indians since breaking out of his 41 AB hitless streak at Cleveland July 6. He is 14-34 against the Indians in eight games this season with three homers, four doubles and nine RBI. Scott’s homerun stretched his active hitting streak to a team-high four.

B.J. Upton led the way for the Rays with three hits in his five AB including a bases clearing double that drove in three and got the Rays’ lead to 4-0 in the sixth inning.   Upton’s double came after two-outs after Demond Jennings was hit by a pitch,  Jose Molina singled and Sean Rodriguez walked. Upton went 6-15 in the four-game set against the Tribe hitting primarily from the leadoff spot. Rays manager Joe Maddon was pleased with the production Upton provided, a two out, nobody on rally.

“That was two outs and nobody on right?…We had Desmond, then J-mo and then Shaun and then BJ unloads’ em.  And then here comes Carlos finds his spot. That’s something that’s been against us we haven’t been able to do ourselves so it was nice to, a return the favor.”

Upton used to bat for offensive production and even threatened to steal home before Carlos Peña

Jennings (8), Molina and Rodriguez (sliding) all scored in the 6th on BJ Upton's double (US PRESSWIRE - Kim Klement)

drove him in from third with a single. Although Upton is the one known on the team for his speed (just two homeruns shy of becoming the eighth player in MLB history with 100 homers and 200 stolen bases before turning 28) he didn’t have the big steal Thursday. Catcher José Molina stole second off of Jimenez in the second inning.

“He just stole it,” Upton said of Molina’s first steal with the Rays. “I didn’t know what was going on, but he made it.”  Joe Maddon was happy to see Molina swipe second, “Whenever J-Mo (Molina) steals a bag, you must win that game,” Maddon joked after the game.

In addition to his steal, José Molina played like his brother, Yadier, going 2-3 with a walk and a run scored and threw out a runner at third. Molina, 37, proved he is a quiet veteran and walked away from the crowd of reporters around his locker after the game.

As for the pitching, David Price put together a quality start going seven innings allowing just two hits and three walks with seven strikeouts. Price said he was feeling it and even picked off a runner in the game, something Maddon said Price has been working on.

“Something he has been working on, he has been really wanting to get better at that.  He pound Carberra back with a couple and then all of a sudden a quick step off move and that’s really nice…there’s a little notation that goes down in the advanced scout’s report which is good.”

Price said his success this season has come from his willingness to throw strikes and attack the strike zone. Price became the first pitcher to reach 13 wins this season (13-4, 2.64 ERA) as Mets starter R.A. Dickey (13-1) tied him at 13 wins after the Rays finished off Cleveland.

The kids went home happy as they witnessed the first Rays’ shutout since June 17 this year. They also exploded in joy as the final out was the 10th strikeout for Rays’ pitching, meaning free pizza for all fans in attendance.

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