Rays starting pitcher David Price had a rough third inning, allowing three runs — all via homers. But he settled down enough to last seven innings — throwing 98 pitches. For anyone counting at home, that’s now four straight starts of seven-plus inning with less than 100 pitches since returning from a nearly two-month stint on the disabled list.
Of course, the well-rested offense — only one position player made the All-Star team, and he didn’t even play — helped. Long balls from Ben Zobrist, Wil Myers, Evan Longoria (a total bomb) and Kelly Johnson knotted the score, thus giving the Rays life. Then, Ryan Roberts, in his first game back from Triple-A Durham, made sure those counted by delivering a huge two-out RBI single in the eighth inning.
And to think they accomplished this without two starters, shortstop Yunel Escobar (minor hamstring/groin issue; expected to DH Saturday) and first baseman James Loney (on paternity leave due to the birth of his new son). Now that’s impressive, as it showcases the team’s depth.
Friday’s victory keeps the Rays two and a half games behind the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox, who they face in a four-game series beginning Monday, July 22, in Boston.
Going forward, the Rays need to continue finding ways to win. Because, quite honestly, that’s what good, playoff-bound teams do.