TORONTO -- David Price mixed it up on Saturday afternoon in Toronto to lead the Red Sox to a 5-2 win over the Blue Jays in his return to the rotation.Price missed his last outing after being diagnosed with a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome. That didn't seem to
TORONTO -- David Price mixed it up on Saturday afternoon in Toronto to lead the Red Sox to a 5-2 win over the Blue Jays in his return to the rotation.
Price missed his last outing after being diagnosed with a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome. That didn't seem to impact him on Saturday, though, as his cutter velocity remained consistent and his two-seamer velocity of 93.3 mph was above his season average.
"I saw something different in the way he pitched today," manager Alex Cora said after the win. "Everything. There was a difference in speeds. Mixing up that breaking ball is very important. He induced some weak contact. They hit a few balls hard, too, but I think he pitched great."
Over 5 1/3 innings, Price allowed two runs on five hits and three walks while striking out six. He threw 93 pitches, which is the second-most he's thrown in an outing in 2018, and he set a season high by forcing 11 swinging strikes.
Price appeared to be staying in the game to face Russell Martin in the sixth inning after getting Kevin Pillar to pop out, but a fan who ran onto the field caused a delay in the action. When play resumed a couple minutes later, Cora chose to lift Price from the game for Carson Smith.
"Actually, when the fan jumped in, it kind of gave me time for Smitty to get ready," Cora said. "It's not that I wasn't comfortable with David against Russell, but I thought that it was a good outing."
Increased curveball usage gave Price a different look on Saturday, too. He entered play throwing that pitch just two percent of the time, but he turned to it 10 times against the Blue Jays. This usage mostly borrowed from his two-seam fastball, which Price threw fewer times than he usually does.
"It's big," Price said. "Just to have that velocity separation, to be able to throw it and get that strike. Not a lot of guys think they'll see that 0-0 curveball, so to be able to throw that and get them off some other stuff and change eyesights, it's always key."
Hanley Ramirez delivered the big blow for Boston with a two-run shot after Andrew Benintendi doubled home his first of two runs in the game. Mookie Betts (3-for-5) and Rafael Devers (2-for-4) rounded out a 12-hit showing from the Red Sox's lineup.
Smith was followed out of the bullpen by Hector Velazquez and Joe Kelly, who each pitched a scoreless inning to set up Craig Kimbrel for his 11th save of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ramirez hit his sixth home run of the season in the top of the third inning to extend the Red Sox's lead to 3-0. It left Ramirez's bat at 98.2 mph, according to Statcast™, and it just barely cleared the wall over a leaping Anthony Alford. With it, Ramirez has launched three home runs and recorded seven RBIs in his past four games.
Price got a hand from his defense to escape the third with a timely double play. Josh Donaldson cracked a line drive that left the bat at 101.0 mph, according to Statcast™, but Xander Bogaerts snagged it and flipped quickly to second baseman Eduardo Nunez, who doubled off the runner.
The Red Sox have won 12 of their past 15 games at Rogers Centre. They also scored at least five runs for the 24th time this season, which is the most in MLB.
HE SAID IT
"It's always a place I've enjoyed pitching. I enjoy the mound, the atmosphere. I don't think anybody is excited to pitch against the Blue Jays. They always swing it really well, but I like the mound. It's a place I feel comfortable pitching, and I look forward to it every time I get the ball here." -- Price, on pitching in Toronto
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Betts and Christian Vazquez attempted a double steal with no outs in the seventh, but Luke Maile delivered a strike to Martin at third base to get Vazquez. The play -- which involved three natural catchers -- was challenged by the Red Sox, but the ruling was upheld after the review showed that Martin tagged Vazquez when he was off the bag.
"He knows it. I don't have to tell him that wasn't the right spot to do that," Cora said. "But he saw the game, and he was watching what was going on. Ready, but not in that spot."
Boston wraps up its series in Toronto with an afternoon Mother's Day game on Sunday at 1:07 p.m. ET. Left-hander Thomas Pomeranz will face Joe Biagini, who is replacing Marcus Stroman in the Blue Jays' rotation. Pomeranz has looked better since returning from the DL; he allowed two runs on six hits over six innings against the Yankees on Tuesday.
Keegan Matheson is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto.