Rays fall to Indians on Price's rocky outing
ST. PETERSBURG -- The "reverse lock" clicked into place Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field when Cleveland defeated Tampa Bay, 13-0.
"Yeah, I guess it was [a reverse lock]," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Everything was going in our favor, we had the right guy pitching and it just did not want to work out."
In defeat, the Rays finished their six-game homestand at 3-3 as they head off on a 10-game, three-stop road trip.
In baseball vernacular, a reverse lock is in place when the odds of one team winning look so great that the unexpected happens. Sunday's game had such a forecast.
The Indians came into Sunday's game riding a 19-inning scoreless streak. David Price, the reigning Cy Young Award winner, was the starter for the Rays, while Indians starter Justin Masterson carried into the contest a 1-7 record with a 7.74 ERA in 13 career games at Tropicana Field.
Naturally, Masterson did the dealing rather than Price.
Cleveland scored in the second on Drew Stubbs' RBI single to take a 1-0 lead. Price then walked the first two batters he faced in the third before Mark Reynolds homered to center field to give the Indians a 4-0 lead.
"He throws hard, so if you barrel it, it's going to go," Reynolds said. "He's one of the toughest guys to face. He just left a curveball out over [for the first home run]. He's tough, man. My next at-bat he pounded me in 95 on three pitches. You can't do much with that. You always feel good if you come away from a game with a knock against him. He's tough."
Price seemed to regain his footing when he retired the Indians in order in the fourth, but they hung a four spot on Price in the fifth fueled by Lonnie Chisenhall's three-run homer to put the Indians up 8-0.
"Just fighting myself right now," Price said. "And it's tough. As good as I feel out there on the mound right now to go out there and be my own worst enemy. It's a tough thing to do. I've got to get out of my own way and just throw the ball."
Price did not return to pitch the sixth, leaving behind a line that included eight earned runs on 10 hits and three walks.
"It took me a couple of starts last year as well," Price said. "This wasn't very good. I've really thought about it since I came out and I really don't have a positive from today. And that's kind of tough to do. I just have to keep getting better, working hard. It's not due to lack of work or anything like that. This is a very tough game, and they put it to us today. It was very rough."
Reynolds added his fourth home run of the season in the Indians' two-run seventh and Michael Bourn chipped in with a solo shot in the eighth to push the lead to 11-0.
Masterson departed after turning in seven scoreless frames, striking out eight batters and only allowing two hits.
"I thought Masty really showed his colors," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We needed that today, and I think he felt a responsibility coming in, and from the get-go, he had a two-seamer, four-seamer and he probably had the best breaking ball that I've ever seen him throw."
Ben Zobrist spoke about the difference in the Masterson the Rays saw on Sunday and the one they had seen in the past.
"Maybe just throwing more strikes early in the count," Zobrist said. "I think he worked ahead, and whenever we've hit him well, he's gotten behind in the count. And he didn't do that much today. He really did a great job of throwing strikes. And a guy like him with the movement he has, if he's throwing strikes he's going to be good."
Sunday reaffirmed the old sports cliche about why you must play the games and not just pencil in the winner based on the predicted outcome.
"Again it is the beauty of our game," Maddon said. "It's so unpredictable. Unlike other games, I think this one is the least predictable. It's unfortunate. We did win two out of three against this team and three and three overall. I can't be overly upset about that at all. We played well. Today was just a bad game."