David Price couldn't have been much better than he was Thursday facing his old teammates for the first time. The offense of his new team, the Detroit Tigers, on the other hand, could have helped Price a lot more in his return to Tropicana Field to face the Tampa Bay Rays.
Price threw a complete game one-hitter, striking out nine and retiring 23 straight batters — and he lost! The Tigers couldn't muster a single run of support to help Price, who was essentially one pitch from a no-hitter. His counterpart, Alex Cobb, was great too. Giving up just two hits and striking out six in seven scoreless innings, as the Rays won 1-0.
The only baserunners against Price came in the first inning. After getting a standing ovation from Rays fans when he took the mound, Price allowed a triple to the third batter, Brandon Guyer. That scored Ben Zobrist, who had reached on an error an at-bat earlier.
And that was it. Price struck out Evan Longoria and Wil Myers to finish the inning, then didn't let anybody else on base the entire game. Didn't even walk a hitter. Talk about your tough-luck losses. Here's some historical context, via ESPN Stats & Info:
As Jason Beck of MLB.com notes, Price is also the first pitcher since 1990 to throw a complete game, allowing no earned runs and lose. He's the 19th pitcher in the last 100 years to suffer that type of loss. Of those, Price is the only one who didn't walk a batter.
Translation: This was a one-of-a-kind loss that hard to blame on Price.
After the game, Price wasn't boo-hooing his bad luck or the Tigers lack of offense. Instead, he was appreciative of the reception from Tampa Bay fans. He told reporters, including George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press:
“I appreciated it,” Price said. “I spent a long time here. Those fans pat our backs through the ups and downs. It’s always a good feeling when the opposing fans cheer for you ... Honestly, that was something I really never thought I’d have to do, not pitching against these guys in this ballpark or really pitching against them at any time ...They played my walkout song when I went out there, so that’s cool. They kept cheering. Kind of had to step off. That was a good feeling.”
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