Rays' David Price shuts down Indians
David Price has used a different approach in two starts against Cleveland this season and both resulted in victories.
Price struck out a career-high 12 over seven innings, Casey Kotchman and Sam Fuld both homered, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Indians 5-0 on Friday night.
''We couldn't do anything against him,'' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ''He was overpowering.''
Price (6-4) scattered four hits and walked two. The left-hander had given up 10 runs in 11 2-3 innings during his previous two starts.
''I felt good with everything I was throwing,'' Price said.
Price said he had his best changeup this season, which made the fastball more effective.
''He can pitch anyway he wants to do,'' Acta said. ''The last game he pitched against us, he threw 92 percent of pitches fastballs. He dominated us. And today he mixed all pitches in and same result.''
Price gave up two runs over eight innings when the Rays beat Cleveland 8-2 on May 11 to end the Indians' 14-game home winning streak.
Price was OK after he took a blow to the back of the head from part of a broken-bat on Grady Sizemore's seventh-inning grounder. He briefly rubbed his head and smiled when teammates came to check on him.
''If it had been the sharp part, I'm sure I'd have something (like a cut),'' Price said.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon has spoken out for years about the potential danger from maple bats breaking and the lack of major rule changes in that area.
''Had that impaled David, something probably would have been done,'' he said.
The Rays went up 4-0 in the second on two-run homers by Kotchman and Fuld off Josh Tomlin (6-2). Relievers Joel Peralta and Adam Russell completed the four-hitter.
Tampa Bay's Matt Joyce, who started play hitting a major league-best .367, had three hits - including a broken-bat RBI single during the seventh - in four at-bats. The big game lifted his average to .377.
Tomlin allowed four runs and 10 hits in six innings for the AL Central-leading Indians, who have lost three straight. Cleveland has been outscored 23-4 over that stretch.
Sizemore was activated from the 15-day disabled list and went 0 for 4, including two strikeouts, as the designated hitter. He had been on the DL with a bruised right kneecap after making a hard, late slide into second base May 10.
Acta said Sizemore, dropped from his normal leadoff spot to sixth in the lineup to get his timing back, will be the DH throughout the three-game series.
Acta moved slumping cleanup batter Carlos Santana to seventh in the order. Third-place hitter Shin-Soo Choo was rested. Orlando Cabrera was shifted from sixth to second, with Asdrubal Cabrera going from the two-hole to third.
Santana had been hitless in his previous 19 at-bats before hitting a two-out double in the second. He was left stranded when Austin Kearns struck out.
Price worked out of a two-on, one-out jam during the sixth by striking out Shelley Duncan and Matt LaPorta.
''He's one of the elite pitchers in the game, both leagues included,'' Acta said.
NOTES: Acta didn't rule out Sizemore playing the field once in the Indians' next series at Toronto, which has artificial turf like Tropicana Field. ... Fuld entered in an 11-for-94 slide that has seen him dropped to ninth in the lineup after hitting leadoff 38 times this season. He followed up his homer with a fourth-inning bunt single. ... Rays All-Star 3B Evan Longoria was hitless in four at-bats, and is 4 for 33 in his last nine games. ... Tampa Bay CF B.J. Upton and LaPorta both struck out four times.