Tampa Bay Rays

Price pitches two no-hit innings out of Red Sox bullpen

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Price pitches two no-hit innings out of Red Sox bullpen

BOSTON — David Price's fastball still has the juice he’s shown all year when healthy. The lefty pitched in relief for the first time since joining the Red Sox in a 3-2 loss against the Rays on Sunday afternoon, touching 96 mph at Tropicana Field. He struck out two in a pair of hitless innings.

Price handled the seventh and eighth innings, his first work in a major league game since July 22. That day, he made his final start ahead of his second trip to the disabled list this year for an arm injury.

Price on Sunday didn’t seem to be shying away from either his breaking ball or change-up — the pitches he told The Athletic contributed most to his latest DL stint, because of discomfort felt in the lower triceps.  

Per MLB.com's pitch classification, Price threw four curveballs and four change-ups. Of his 21 pitches, 15 were strikes, and he needed just seven pitches in his first inning of work.

The choice to put Price in the bullpen appears the safest, and does help out a group of relievers who could use another big arm. But whether he is most valuable as a starter, and whether his effectiveness is any greater in relief, are more complicated questions

David Price returns, Red Sox lose to Rays, 3-2

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David Price returns, Red Sox lose to Rays, 3-2

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Daivd Price had a flawless return from a nearly two-month layoff.

The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner pitched two hitless innings in relief for the Boston Red Sox in a 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

He was activated Thursday and pitched for the first time since July 22 after being sidelined by left elbow inflammation. He struck out two in his first relief appearance since 2010.

"I felt good. I put up two zeroes in a one-run game. It's fun to get back out there," said Price, who pitched for the first time since July 22 after being sidelined by left elbow inflammation. "I felt good with the curveball, threw some really good cutters, a couple good changeups. It was good."

Red Sox manager John Farrell had said Price would go no more than two innings in his first appearance. The Red Sox will attempt to determine whether he can be stretched out enough to start in the postseason.

"That was even more than I personally anticipated," said Farrell. "I'm amazed that someone who hasn't pitched in a game in nearly seven weeks would come out with that kind of command and throw three or four pitches for strikes. He is a unique pitcher and that was really a strong two innings of work."

The AL East-leading Red Sox remained three games ahead of the New York Yankees with 13 games remaining in the regular season.

Jake Odorizzi (9-8) gave up one hit in six innings and the Rays salvaged the finale of a three-game series. Jesus Sucre's solo home run off Eduardo Rodriguez regained the lead for Tampa Bay in the sixth inning after Jackie Bradley Jr. homered for the only hit off Odorizzi.

It was the sixth home run for Sucre and the 17th for Bradley.

Odorizzi took a no-hitter into the sixth, having given up only a first-inning walk to Dustin Pedroia. He had retired 14 straight when he walked Brock Holt to lead off the sixth. Bradley's two-run homer followed on a 3-2 pitch, tying the game 2-2.

According to Odorizzi, it wasn't necessarily a bad pitch, just the wrong one.

"I was throwing what was working for me," he said. "I had good life on my fastball. He was sitting dead-red. If I had thrown him a changeup he probably would have swung and missed by a good bit. But I didn't and he didn't."

Rodriguez (5-6) took the loss for the Red Sox.

Evan Longoria drove in the Rays' first two runs with singles in the first and fifth innings.

Odorizzi pitched six innings, the longest of any Rays starter in their last 10 games, giving up two runs on one hit and two walks while striking out seven.

Alex Colome pitched the ninth for his 45th save.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: RF Mookie Betts left the game in the fifth inning with a right thumb contusion. ... 2B Pedroia (left knee inflammation) returned as a DH on Sunday after a day off following his 0-for-9 performance in Friday night's 15-inning game. Pedroia will return to 2B in Baltimore on Monday night.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: RHP Doug Fister (5-8) will make his 13th start for Boston Monday night in the opener of a three-game series at Baltimore. RHP Dylan Bundy (13-9) will pitch for the Orioles.

Rays: Former Rays manager Joe Maddon will bring the Chicago Cubs to Tropicana Field for a two-game interleague series starting Tuesday night. RHP Chris Archer (9-10) will pitch for the Rays against LHP Jon Lester (11-7).

Porcello sharp, Betts homers to lift Red Sox over Rays, 3-1

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Porcello sharp, Betts homers to lift Red Sox over Rays, 3-1

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Rick Porcello and Mookie Betts reverted to their 2016 All-Star forms Saturday night in leading the Boston Red Sox to a 3-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Porcello took a shutout into the eighth inning, Betts hit his 22nd home run and scored twice and the Red Sox reduced their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to six, winning for the eighth win in 10 games. They also kept their AL East lead over the New York Yankees at three games with 14 left to play.

Porcello (10-17) flirted with a complete game and a shutout until the eighth inning. He gave up one unearned run in 7 1/3 innings a day after the Red Sox used eight relievers in a 15-inning win.

"I'm the only guy who got rest last night," said the 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner, "and knowing how many guys got used out of our bullpen yesterday and how much those guys have thrown over the past week, it's important to pitch deep into games at this time of the year. Getting some quick innings and getting into the eighth inning was big for us."

Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel got the last five outs, and Kimbrel earned his 33rd save.

"To get into the eighth inning the way (Porcello) did, just a great job," manager John Farrell said. "When we score runs for him, he's as good a pitcher as we saw last year. I know his ERA (4.46) is inflated a little this year, but when we get him three runs, we're in pretty good shape."

Adeiny Hechavarria led off Tampa Bay's seventh with a double against Porcello, moved to third on a passed ball and scored the Rays' run when a throw from first baseman Mitch Moreland bounced off a runner on a double-play attempt.

Betts started the second inning with his homer off starter Alex Cobb and drove in another run with a sixth-inning single, his 12th RBI in eight games. The right fielder who finished second in the MVP vote last year is hitting .318 with four home runs in his last 10 games.

"He's on a 10-day run here where we're seeing a guy we saw for two years leading into this year," said Farrell.

Rafael Devers drove in Betts with a two-out double off reliever Dan Jennings.

Cobb (11-10) gave up three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. The two runs in the sixth came after Betts singled on the pitch after Cobb thought he should have had a called strikeout.

"It's frustrating," Cobb said. "To have two tough losses like that coming back home is getting harder to handle."

Logan Morrison was ejected from the Rays' dugout during the sixth inning.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: LHP David Price, who last pitched on July 22 because of left elbow inflammation, could make an appearance out of the bullpen Sunday. He was activated Thursday, a day after a 48-pitch bullpen session. ... DH Hanley Ramirez missed a third straight game after an MRI revealed some inflammation in his left shoulder.

Rays: RHP Jake Faria made his first relief appearance after missing a month with an abdominal strain. ... LHP Xavier Cedeno (left forearm tightness) has not pitched since April 16, but the Rays are hopeful of getting him in one or more of their 13 remaining games.

UP NEXT

LHP Eduardo Rodriguez struck out a career-high 13 in 5 1/3 innings in his last start against the Rays on Sept. 25, 2016. He will pitch Sunday's series finale against RHP Jake Odorizzi. It will be Odorizzi's 17th career start against Boston, including two losses this season.

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