Price stifles Twins with 11-K gem in Jays debut
TORONTO -- David Price dazzled in his Blue Jays debut, allowing just one run over eight innings, and he was backed by homers from Josh Donaldson and Ryan Goins in a 5-1 win over the Twins on Monday afternoon at Rogers Centre. The victory moved Toronto into a virtual tie with Minnesota for the second American League Wild Card spot.
Price, acquired from the Tigers before Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, gave up just three hits and walked two while striking out 11. The lone run he allowed came on a solo blast from Torii Hunter in the second inning.
Price outdueled Twins right-hander Ervin Santana, who surrendered three runs on six hits and three walks over six frames. Goins got the Blue Jays on the board with a solo shot in the second before Donaldson connected on a go-ahead two-run blast in the fifth. The Blue Jays added two insurance runs in the seventh with back-to-back RBI singles from Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Smoak off reliever Blaine Boyer.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Price is right in debut: Price didn't disappoint in his much-anticipated debut. After loading the bases with no outs in the fourth, the left-hander retired three Twins in a row to escape the inning unharmed, setting off a streak of 15 straight outs that only ended when he came out of the game at the end of the eighth inning.
"That was the greatest atmosphere I've ever been in," Price said. More >
Hunter takes former teammate deep: Hunter, who played with Price in Detroit last year, picked up the first hit for the Twins with a solo blast with one out in the second. It was the 17th homer for Hunter, who matched his total from 2013 and '14.
"One solo home run is not going to do it," Hunter said. "Those guys know how to hit over there. Josh Donaldson is as hot as a firecracker. So we knew we had to battle out there. We had the bases loaded, but he struck out the next few batters. David Price. Josh Donaldson. What a show."
Heavy hitters: After Goins knotted the game at 1 with a solo shot in the second, Donaldson broke the tie with a two-run shot to right field, bringing home Troy Tulowitzki to give the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead. It marks the 14th time in their past 15 games that the Blue Jays have homered. Eight of those contests have been multihomer efforts.
"He's been doing it all year," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Donaldson. "Not like we've only seen it a couple of times. But don't forget Goins' big home run to tie it. That doesn't happen too often." More >
Minnesota's offense stays cold: The Twins entered having scored a combined five runs over their past three games, and they couldn't get anything going offensively yet again. Minnesota went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, including coming up empty after loading the bases with nobody out in fourth.
"It was a winnable game," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We created enough opportunities to get things done. A guy of his caliber, when you get leadoff doubles or a runner at third with less than two outs, you have to take advantage. We have guys who are still learning to slow the game in those situations and it's not happening for us, but hopefully they can learn and get better." More >
"There's so much time left. There's two months left. Every game is important. Today they beat us. They hit the ball. And David Price pitched well. Have amnesia and keep going. That's it. It's over."
-- Hunter, on the Twins falling into a virtual tie with the Blue Jays for the second AL Wild Card spot
"This is the type of atmosphere you grow up wanting to be in."
-- Price, on the fan reception for his Blue Jays debut
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Price set the record for strikeouts in a Blue Jays debut with 11. It broke the previous record of nine strikeouts from Roger Clemens in his Toronto debut on April 2, 1997. It marked the fourth time this season Price reached double digits in strikeouts.
Kevin Durant cheers on Price
Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder star forward, was at Rogers Centre cheering on Price as he made his Blue Jays debut. When Price was told Durant was on hand rooting for him, he was ecstatic.
"That blows me away. That's probably the coolest thing I've had happen to me, fan-wise," Price said.
Twins: Phil Hughes starts for the Twins in the second game of the four-game series on Tuesday at 6:07 p.m. CT. Hughes is coming off a subpar outing against the Mariners, as he gave up five runs over five innings, but he still picked up the win. The right-hander has served up 25 homers in 21 starts, which could be an issue against the high-powered Blue Jays.
Blue Jays: Right-hander Marco Estrada takes the mound for Toronto at 7:07 p.m. ET. He's allowed two runs or fewer in all but one of his previous eight starts, posting a 2.66 ERA over that span.
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