David Price pitches the Red Sox back into first place
Welcome to The Walk Off, the nightly MLB recap from Big League Stew. Here we’ll look at the top performers of the night, show you a must-see highlight and rundown the scoreboard. First, we start with a game you need to know about.
Now this is the David Price for whom the Red Sox paid $217 million, the ace Boston thought could lead it back to the World Series.
This David Price, he threw eight shutout innings on Monday night as the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-2. Price allowed just two hits and looked every bit like the front-of-the-rotation horse that Boston needed.
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And with that, the Red Sox tied the idle Toronto Blue Jays atop the AL East. The Red Sox hadn’t had a share of first place in the AL East since July 20. it’s a race that figures to go to the wire at this point, with the Orioles also just two games back.
There’s an added layer of subtext when Price returns to Tropicana Field, where he started his career with the Rays and established himself as one of the top arms in the game. He looked that way on this night too, striking out eight en route to his 12th win of the season. It hasn’t been a stellar year for Price, but he’s won his last three starts and he’s managed to bring his ERA down from 4.88 at the start of June to 4.00 now.
Afterward, Price told reporters, including Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe:
“I always want to go a good way [into games],” he said. “Good things aren’t always going to happen. But today I had a lot of good things happen.”
It helped that Price got the support of rookie Andrew Benintendi in the eighth inning. Benintendi stole a two-run homer off the bat of Steven Souza Jr. that would have made the score 3-2 at the time.
Price was understandably pumped after the catch, which helped seal the game for the Red Sox.
Adrian Gonzalez: Suppose you could say Adrian Gonzalez had an OK day against the Cincinnati Reds on Monday. Get a load of this line: 3-for-6 with three homers, three runs scored and eight RBIs. Yes, eight! That was almost enough to beat the Reds by himself, but it was one of the weird games where the two teams combined for 35 hits. Alas, the Dodgers hit seven homers total and won 18-9.
Carlos Santana: With the score tied 0-0 in the eighth inning, Santana proved he had all the muscle the Cleveland Indians needed to beat the Oakland Athletics. His solo homer put the Indians ahead, setting up the Indians for the 1-0 win after Carlos Carrasco’s eight scoreless innings on the mound.
Gary Sanchez: The Yankees didn’t win Monday night, but rookie Gary Sanchez was too good to snub. Sanchez hit two more homers, adding to an impressive run that saw him named the AL Player of the Week, after hitting .524 with four homers and six RBIs. The Mariners ultimately won Monday night’s game 7-5, thanks to three homers of their own, but Sanchez’s three-hit, two-homer night helped his legend grow even further.
It was quite a night for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who fell behind 5-0 to the Atlanta Braves by the second inning. But the D-backs showed enough resiliency that one swing from Paul Goldschmidt could win it for them.
Goldschmidt hit a walk-off solo homer to give Arizona a 9-8 win, half an inning after Freddie Freeman had tied the game with a solo homer of his own. The D-backs crept to within 5-4 in the third then took the lead in the seventh, only to watch the Braves tie it again in the ninth. Good thing Goldschmidt was around to make sure the Braves wouldn’t get another chance.
REST OF THE SCOREBOARD
Orioles 4, Nats 3: Mark Trumbo hits home run No. 38 of the season, a two-run blast in the fourth inning that put the O’s up for good.
Cubs 5, Padres 1: The Cubs hit three homers and Anthony Rizzo had four hits to thump the Padres.
Astros 3, Pirates 1: Doug Fister throws seven scoreless for Houston, which got homers from Teoscar Hernandez and Alex Bregman.
Brewers 4, Rockies 2: Hey, did you know Chris Carter has 30 homers? He hit No. 30 right here.
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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz