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A better Price may be difficult to find

Lefty eases way through 6 2/3 with 12 strikeouts
MLB.com @beckjason

DETROIT -- Forget David Price's first start of the season, an 8 2/3-inning gem, or his complete-game win on May 2. The Tigers left-hander said Thursday afternoon's performance against the Astros was better.

During Detroit's eventual 6-5 win at Comerica Park, Price set a new season high with 12 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings, and was nearly untouchable until Houston tallied three runs -- two earned -- in the seventh.

Full Game Coverage

DETROIT -- Forget David Price's first start of the season, an 8 2/3-inning gem, or his complete-game win on May 2. The Tigers left-hander said Thursday afternoon's performance against the Astros was better.

During Detroit's eventual 6-5 win at Comerica Park, Price set a new season high with 12 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings, and was nearly untouchable until Houston tallied three runs -- two earned -- in the seventh.

Full Game Coverage

"That's the best I've felt on the mound, regardless of the results," Price said. "I don't care about the strikeouts. I don't care about the runs there in the seventh inning. That's the best I've felt, and that's the best I've thrown the baseball this year."

Before a Hank Conger single capped a four-hit outburst by the Astros that ended Price's day, the ace was cruising. He had kept Houston -- which boasts the most home runs in baseball -- inside the park with relative ease, and struck out the side in the fourth and sixth innings.

Video: HOU@DET: Ausmus on walk-off win, start by Feldman

That has become a common occurrence for Price when facing the Astros. The left-hander has reached double-digit strikeouts against Houston four times in six career appearances.

On Thursday, he mixed good fastball command with his changeup, cutter, and a heavy dose of the curveball to keep batters guessing.

"It's never easy," Price said. "I don't care how easy we make it look sometimes. This game is never easy. Those guys are professionals, and they never make it easy for you.

"I got hit in the seventh inning, and that's part of it. I'm happy it was the seventh and not in the first and put us down whatever it would've been."

Right fielder George Springer led off that seventh frame with a single, and Evan Gattis followed by sending a fastball from the outer edges of the strike zone to the right-center-field gap for an RBI triple. Both hits came on good pitches, in Price's opinion. But two more runs scored on an infield single and Conger's line drive.

"I felt good, first and foremost," Price said. "I felt good all the way through, even in the seventh inning. They put some good swings on balls that, I mean, I'm fine on the pitch, especially early in the count."

The Astros completed the comeback from a five-run hole in the eighth and ninth innings, and it took until the 11th for the Tigers to claim victory on catcher James McCann's walk-off home run.

While Price expressed disappointment in letting Houston back into the game, Thursday marked Detroit's fifth consecutive win when Price has started.

"Certainly, teams and hitters, the more you get a look at somebody, the quicker you recognize the pitches -- third at-bat, maybe fourth at-bat, if you happen to get there," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "But still, if he guarantees me that type of outing every time, I think we'll be in great shape."

Alejandro Zúñiga is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Detroit Tigers, David Price