|Tampa Bay (41-36) «||1||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||x||4||7||0|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- David Price walked off the mound slowly, raising concern that the AL's first 11-game winner might be headed for a stint on the disabled list.
Tampa Bay's hard-throwing left-hander insisted that's not the case after outpitching Justin Verlander to beat the Detroit Tigers 4-2 on Friday night, stressing that the Rays' decision to remove him after seven innings because of lower back tightness was purely precautionary.
"I'll be fine," Price said, adding that he expects to make his next scheduled start.
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The Rays beat Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, for the second time this season to end a four-game skid in which they played sloppy defense and struggled to score.
Price (11-4) allowed two runs and five hits before exiting after going out to the mound to warm up for the eighth inning. He threw 78 pitches, struck out seven and walked one.
Price said he felt some discomfort after throwing a fast ball to Prince Fielder in the seventh. When he returned to the dugout, Price put a heating pad on his back to try to stay loose.
"Any time a pitcher's going to tell me that the back is bothering him, I'm definitely going to take him out of the game," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
"It just tightened up on me a little bit," Price added. "It's something we need to be careful with."
Price has won three straight decisions and five of six overall with the loss coming when the Rays were one-hit by R.A. Dickey of the New York Mets on June 13.
Jennings hadn't homered in over two months, yet went deep against Verlander (8-5) leading off the third and fifth innings. Ben Zobrist hit a solo homer off the Tigers starter, who struck out eight and walked one while throwing 120 pitches and allowing four runs and six hits over six innings.
"Not very good. You know the old saying, solo homers don't hurt you does not apply tonight, not when you give up three of them," Verlander said. "Just fell behind some guys and put them in fastball counts and they were able to take advantage of it."
Delmon Young hit a solo homer in the fifth and had two of Detroit's hits off Price. Fielder drove in the Tigers' other run when he grounded out in the seventh.
The Rays were outscored 26-8 during a losing streak that matched their longest of the season. Even more troubling has been that they have hurt themselves lately with uncharacteristic mistakes, especially on defense.
Jennings led a stellar defensive effort Friday night, making a nice running catch while falling into the stands in left field in the third inning. The Rays turned three double plays in support of Price. Jake McGee worked the eighth, and Fernando Rodney finished up, earning his 22nd save in 23 opportunities.
"Two outstanding pitchers going at it," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "Tonight, their guy got the best of it."
Despite walking Ramon Santiago in the first and yielding singles to Young in the second and Austin Jackson in the fourth, Price faced the minimum 12 batters over the first four innings - thanks to two inning-ending double plays and Jackson being thrown out attempting to steal second base.
Verlander, meanwhile, allowed three homers in a game for the first time this season. The New York Yankees went deep on the Tigers ace twice in beating him on April 27 and June 3, meaning that seven of the 10 homers Verlander has allowed this season have come in the four starts he has made against those teams.
"It's kind of like walking a tightrope because against a guy like Price you know you're not going to get many runs," Verlander said.
|David Price exits abruptly after seven innings but says he expects to make his next start. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|Austin Jackson, CF||4||0||1||0||0||3||0||.324|
|Ramon Santiago, 2B||3||1||1||0||1||2||1||.224|
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.309|
|Prince Fielder, 1B||3||0||0||1||0||0||0||.297|
|Delmon Young, DH||3||1||2||1||0||0||0||.269|
|Ryan Raburn, RF||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.179|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.257|
|Gerald Laird, C||3||0||0||0||0||2||0||.293|
|Quintin Berry, LF||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.308|
|2B - Ramon Santiago (4, Price)|
|HR - Delmon Young (6, Price)|
|RBI - Prince Fielder (51), Delmon Young (29)|
|CS - Austin Jackson (2, 2nd base by Price/Molina)|
|Justin Verlander (L,8-5)||6||6||4||4||1||8||3||2.69|
|WP - Octavio Dotel (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Justin Verlander 120-74, Octavio Dotel 32-23|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Verlander 5-5, Octavio Dotel 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Justin Verlander 25, Octavio Dotel 7|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, LF||4||2||2||2||0||1||1||.241|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||4||1||1||0||0||1||1||.196|
|B.J. Upton, CF||4||0||1||0||0||2||0||.247|
|Luke Scott, DH||4||0||0||1||0||2||0||.212|
|Ben Zobrist, RF||3||1||2||1||1||0||0||.252|
|Brooks Conrad, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||1||3||.159|
|Sean Rodriguez, 3B||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.214|
|Jose Molina, C||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.195|
|Elliot Johnson, SS||3||0||1||0||0||1||0||.271|
|Will Rhymes, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.214|
|2B - Elliot Johnson (6, Dotel)|
|HR - Desmond Jennings 2 (5, Verlander, Verlander), Ben Zobrist (10, Verlander)|
|RBI - Desmond Jennings 2 (21), Luke Scott (36), Ben Zobrist (32)|
|SB - B.J. Upton (14, 2nd base off Verlander/Laird), Ben Zobrist (7, 2nd base off Verlander/Laird)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Price-Rhymes-Pena, Conrad-Rhymes-Pena, Johnson-Rhymes-Pena|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|David Price (W,11-4)||7||5||2||2||1||7||1||2.92|
|Jake McGee (H,9)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.73|
|Fernando Rodney (S,22)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||1.04|
|Pitches-Strikes - David Price 78-55, Jake McGee 15-11, Fernando Rodney 13-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Price 7-3|
|Batters Faced - David Price 23, Jake McGee 3, Fernando Rodney 3|
|Attendance - 19557|
|Game Time - 2:38|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Dan Bellino, Second Base - Mike Muchlinski, Third Base - Jerry Layne|