There was probably no better opponent for David Price to face in his first start since May 2 than the Blue Jays — and probably no better place to do it than Rogers Centre.
Price has always fared well against Toronto, and that trend continued Monday afternoon, as he pitched three-hit ball over five innings to earn his first win in over a month (April 14). Price allowed a two-run homer to the Jays' Luke Maile, but that was his only blemish, and thanks to a Michael Chavis error earlier that inning, both runs he allowed were unearned.
With the victory, Price is now a ridiculous 22-3 against the Jays over his career, with a 2.37 ERA in 31 appearances (30 starts). According to ESPN Stats & Info, that's the best win percentage by any player all-time against Toronto with a minimum of 15 starts — and the second-best win percentage by any active player against any franchise (Anibal Sanchez is 10-1 vs. the Nationals).
"I enjoy this mound. Feels close to home plate. It's just one of the places I enjoy throwing," said Price, who is now 13-1 with a 3.17 in his career at Rogers Centre. "I felt better as the game went on. The last couple innings were more efficient than the first two or three."
Price retired the final 10 batters he faced after the Maile long ball, and he wasn't kidding about the efficiency, as he needed just five pitches to complete a 1-2-3 fourth inning. Not bad for his first start in 18 days.
"I don't think it matters what time of year it is, or how long of a layoff, or whatever the case is; I expect to go out there and execute pitches, make pitches, and get outs."
Because of the long layoff, Alex Cora took Price out after five innings, despite the fact that his pitch count was only at 67.
"Obviously he hasn't pitched in a while, so just taking care of him," said Cora after the game. "Pitch count was low, the effort was great. The last two innings, velocity-wise and location-wise was fun to watch, so he'll be ready for his next one. But it was cool to have him back."
Price still isn't the all-time leader in wins against the Blue Jays, as Mike Mussina (25-12), Andy Pettitte (25-14), and Roger Clemens (24-12) are all ahead of him for now. But with 16 more games against the Jays this season, Price could vault up that list by October.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.