Price blames self, not weather, for struggles vs. Yanks
Tigers lefty allows eight runs over 2 1/3 innings while pitching in wintry conditions
DETROIT -- David Price lingered in the Tigers' dugout long after the Yankees had chased him off the mound in the third inning of the Tigers' 13-4 loss on Wednesday night. It was 37 degrees and windy, and his work was already done.
"When you throw the ball as bad as I did, and you give up more runs than you get outs, you don't deserve to come up here," Price said. "That's why I sat out there."
For the second straight meeting, the Bronx Bombers put Price through a disaster of an inning that wrecked his night and left the Tigers unable to recover. This one wasn't like the nine consecutive hits the Yankees put together off Price in an eight-run third inning last Aug. 27. This storm came earlier, and it lasted longer.
Those nine straight hits took place in just 25 pitches. On Wednesday, the Yankees worked Price for a 51-pitch opening inning, scoring six runs on five hits and sending 11 batters to the plate.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game by taking a 3-2 fastball off his chest, then hit a two-out RBI single in the same inning. In between, the Yankees took turns knocking Price down with body blows. The only extra-base hit in the bunch was Gregorio Petit's bases-clearing double to the fence in left-center field.
"Just didn't have it," Price said. "That's a bad start. It's not my worst, but it's always tough whenever you put your team down six runs in the first inning before they even get a chance to swing it."
The conditions, manager Brad Ausmus said, made it tough.
"I think without question the elements were the factor," Ausmus said. "I don't think he could feel the ball. … A guy like David who really locates well has to feel the ball coming off the end of his fingers. I don't think he was able to. I think it affected him in the sense that he couldn't feel the breaking ball, so he didn't go to it as much."
Price wasn't accepting that.
"In my mind, it was 72 and sunny with a heavy breeze blowing in," he said, "so I just have to throw the ball better."
Unlike last August, Price survived to see another inning. Part of the reason, Ausmus said afterward, was that they needed the innings.
It's rarely a concern with Price, who pitched at least eight innings in two of his three previous starts this season. He hadn't been knocked out before the sixth in 10 starts, postseason included, since his previous Yankees debacle.
The hits kept going in the second inning of what was then a 6-4 game. Brian McCann's single extended the inning for Carlos Beltran and Chase Headley to slash the outfield gaps for back-to-back triples.
"They did a great job coming back in the bottom of the first inning and putting up four runs," Price said of his teammates, "then I go back out there in the second and give them two more with two outs. It just wasn't a very good job on my part."
Price exited after two more singles in the third. His ERA on the season rose from 0.40 to 3.28. His career numbers against the Yankees rose from 10-6 with a 4.03 ERA to 10-7 and 4.41. He's 1-3 with a 7.59 ERA in six starts against the Yankees since the start of last season.
"My last two times against those guys, I just haven't thrown the ball the way that I need to," Price said.