In a pitcher's duel, one defensive error can be the difference between a win and a loss. The Tigers learned that the hard way as they were shutout 1-0 in the final game of a three-game series against the Rays. Eugenio Suarez cost the Tigers what would end up being the game-winning run for the Rays, but it was the ultimately the untimely hitting that handed Price a tough-luck loss.
Price pitched a sparkling one-hit game Thursday, retiring 23 consecutive Rays and not allowing a walk. The nerves of facing his former team did not prevent Price from giving the Tigers their second straight complete game in as many days. He settled in, striking out nine batters in eight innings, needing just 100 pitches to do so despite facing his former team for the first time.
"First time through the lineup that was really weird, but after that I felt good and accomplished a great game," Price said. "I definitely threw the ball well enough to win, but Cobb threw the ball even better."
Alex Cobb, meanwhile, worked his own gem against the Tigers, holding them to just two hits and two walks. The Tigers had their scoring opportunities, but ill-timed at-bats and absence of hard contact didn't get the offense anywhere. In all, they had just four hits and Suarez was the only batter to hold multiple hits, one which was a double.
The only other double in the game was off the bat of Hunter in the seventh inning, however he was left stranded at third base. J.D. Martinez struggled in particular against Rays pitching, striking out thrice and Alex Avila contributed poorly as well, striking out twice. Despite only four hits, the Tigers left 12 runners on base and collectively they walked just twice.
"He pitched well but I'm a little (ticked) we've lost this game," Avila said. "David pitched his butt off and we had a couple opportunities, we just couldn't capitalize. There's not too many times you're going to get performances like that, and I really wish we would have won this game."
The Tigers take the series against the Rays despite Thursday's loss and are just 1 1/2 games behind the Royals as Kansas City had the day off. Next up is a four-game series against the Twins, including a doubleheader on Saturday. Robbie Ray will get the start on Friday and Buck Farmer will take one of the games on Saturday.
Justin Verlander is penciled in for one of the other games on Saturday, although it hasn't been announced which game that is. However, it's likely he would choose the night game, given the option. No starter has been announced for Sunday's game yet.
David Price: The deeper he goes into a game, Price doesn't decrease the sharpness of his game; he gets better. It's a lot like fine wine, except without the physically aging process. Price went eight strong innings without surrendering a single earned run. The only run allowed was the unearned run in the first and as the game went on, Price went through the Rays lineup with increasing ease. He retired every Ray in order after the first inning.
Torii Hunter: In the fifth inning Hunter showed he's still got some Spider Man left in him. He made a leaping catch at the right field wall to take a hit away from Sean Rodriguez. (MLB.com video) Hunter also had a leadoff double in the seventh.
Torii Hunter takes extra bases away from Sean Rodriguez, making David Price a happy man. pic.twitter.com/3ALMRpszBc— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) August 21, 2014
Torii having a brief respite from his identity crisis today. #blessed— HookSlide (@HookSlideBYB) August 21, 2014
Eugenio Suarez's offense: Defensively it was a bad day and he cost the Tigers a run in a pitcher's duel. Offensively, however, Suarez had a good afternoon. He was the only Tigers hitter to record multiple hits, a single in the third and a double in the eighth.
I still feel Suarez is a better hitter than Romine. Although that's like saying Aldi is a better grocery store than Save-A-Lot.— PCB (@PhilCokesBrain) August 21, 2014
Eugenio Suarez defense: A throwing error by the shortstop in the first inning cost the Tigers a run and ultimately the game. Brandon Guyer hit a line drive triple that scored Ben Zobrist, who had reached via the error. He also had some additional suspect throws to Martinez at first that weren't completely on target.
J.D. Martinez: He may be the birthday boy, but Martinez blew away several good at-bats and two scoring opportunities for the Tigers. In the seventh inning Martinez's cold bat swung away at several pitches that never even came close to the strike zone. He slammed the bat down in frustration after striking out and ultimately a leadoff double by Hunter was wasted. Martinez finished 0-4 with three strikeouts on pitches that could've landed in the North Pole relative to their location in the strike zone.
TIME OUT! *duct tapes J.D.'s bat to his shoulder* TIME IN!— PCB (@PhilCokesBrain) August 21, 2014
Alex Avila was hit on the right hand by a foul ball in the fourth inning. Ausmus and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand came out to check on Avila but he remained in the game.
"I'm a little banged up, but I'll be ok," Avila said after the game.
STREAKS AND STATS:
- Eugenio Suarez made his eighth error of the season in the first inning, four that occurred after July 29.
- David Price recorded his MLB-leading 219th strikeout of the season in the seventh inning, giving Price a new single-season career-high in strikeouts. Price went on to strikeout two in the eighth, giving him 221 strikeouts for the season.
- Price retired 23 consecutive batters and none of the batters Price faced in the game reached a three-ball count. Not once. Price went on to suffer the third complete game loss of his career.
- Victor Martinez was intentionally walked for the 22nd time this season, which leads MLB.
- Price's complete game marked the 17th time in major league history that a pitcher tossed a complete game, gave up one hit and zero earned runs, and then took the loss. The last pitcher to do so was Charlie Hough back on June 16, 1986. However, Price is the first pitcher in that group to not allow a walk and go on to strike out more than eight batters.
- It was the first Tigers loss since 1914 where just one hit was allowed and the team went on to take the loss.
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