St. Petersburg, Fla. - David Price finally got to finish what he started.
Price threw a four-hitter, John Jaso and Jason Bartlett had two RBIs apiece and the Tampa Bay Rays beat Toronto, 6-0, on Sunday.
“I’ve always believed that when a young pitcher can throw a complete game shutout it does do something for their confidence,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “And to do it in a minimal number of pitches like that, 108, that’s really good also. I just think it’s a carry-over kind of thing.”
Price (3-1) struck out nine and walked one in his first complete game. He improved to 9-1 in his career against the AL East.
“He probably pitched the best against us (this season),” Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said. “He threw strikes. He kept the guys off balance. He just had good stuff.”
It was Price’s first start since lasting just five-plus innings in a 4-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox last Tuesday.
“Now I know what it takes,” Price said. “I’ve been there and I’ve done that now. I’ve got that first little taste in my mouth. Now I want more. On this staff, five or six innings isn’t enough. We want to go seven, eight or nine, and that’s what these guys have been doing all year.”
Carlos Peña opened the fifth by drawing Tampa Bay’s sixth walk off Brandon Morrow (1-2) and then went to third when B.J. Upton got the Rays’ first hit, a double to right. After Pat Burrell struck out, Jaso hit a two-run single.
Pena added a run-scoring double and Bartlett drove in a pair with a double during the Rays’ four-run eighth as Tampa Bay took two of three in winning its ninth straight home series against the Blue Jays.
Blue Jays catcher Jose Molina threw out a runner trying to steal second – including Carl Crawford twice – in each of the first four innings. The four runners thrown out attempting to steal in the same game by Molina set a Toronto team record.
“After the second inning I came in and kind of joked around and said ‘Hey, I’ll just walk them and you throw them all out,’ ” said Morrow, a former Seattle Mariners top draft choice.
It was the first time a catcher has thrown out four runners attempting to steal in one game since Florida’s Charles Johnson did it against Montreal on Sept. 18, 2002. Oakland’s Terry Steinbach, on July 31, 1992, against Kansas City, was the last AL catcher to accomplish the feat.