Twins lose third straight, fall to MLB-worst 5-16 on road
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Even before he earned his first regular-season win, David Price knew what it was like to get a standing ovation.
That doesn't mean he didn't enjoy this one, too.
Price struck out 11 for his first career victory and Evan Longoria got his 55th RBI of the season to help the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Minnesota Twins 5-2 on Saturday.
"It was fun out there," said Price, who tipped his cap to the cheering crowd of 36,052 when he left the game. "Any win you've got to look at all the positives. It's fun to be here. It's fun to pitch here."
Price (1-0), who started the season at Triple-A Durham and was recalled Monday, gave up one run, five hits and two walks over 5 2-3 innings in his first start at Tropicana Field.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft was the winner out of the bullpen in Game 2 and picked up the Game 7 save in last year's AL championship series against Boston, making the rookie an immediate fan favorite.
"David again, great stuff," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "His stuff was dominant."
Longoria had an RBI single during a four-run third for the Rays, who have won two in a row after a season-high five-game skid. Carl Crawford had two RBIs, including a solo homer in the seventh, and Randy Choate earned his second save.
Minnesota left-hander Francisco Liriano (2-7) allowed four runs and seven hits in four innings. He has lasted just four innings in three straight starts.
"It's tough right now," Liriano said. "I just got to go out there and pitch and see what happens."
The Twins are 5-16 on the road this season. Minnesota was hitless in nine at-bats with runners in scoring position and is 1 of 20 overall the past two games.
"Another one of those games where I think we were facing a guy that was really, really throwing the fire out of the ball," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Joe Dillon hit a solo homer, Crawford had an RBI infield single, Longoria hit a run-scoring single and Ben Zobrist drove in a run on an infield single to give Tampa Bay a 4-1 lead in the third.
Gardenhire said his team made "some bad decisions" on three infield grounders in the third, possibly missing out on potential forceouts at second that might have changed the complexion of the inning.
Justin Morneau put the Twins ahead 1-0 on an RBI grounder in the third. He has driven in 28 runs this month.
Price worked out of a self-induced, second-and-third, two-out jam in the second by getting a grounder to third from Alexi Casilla.
With Joe Crede on first after an earlier walk, Price fielded a routine grounder by Carlos Gomez and proceeded to lob a throw well over first baseman Carlos Pena's head that put the two runners in scoring position.
"That was awful," Price said. "The most unathletic thing I've ever done. That was embarrassing."
Crede left in the fourth after fouling a ball off his left knee. X-rays were negative and although he is day to day, Gardenhire doesn't expect him to play Sunday.
"There's just quite a bit of swelling," Crede said.
Twins catcher Joe Mauer might also get a day off Sunday. He fouled off a ball just above his right ankle Saturday.
Grant Balfour pitched 2 2-3 innings before being replaced by Choate with two on in the ninth. Choate got two outs, including an RBI grounder by Casilla.
E Tampa Bay recalled OF Matt Joyce from Triple-A Durham after the game and optioned RHP Dale Thayer to the International League club.
- Maddon said DH Pat Burrell, out since May 11 with a strained neck, underwent a third round of shots for the injury and will likely have his status reviewed on Tuesday.
- Twins OF Jason Kubel, bothered by a sore knee, was rested.
- Tampa Bay LHP Scott Kazmir (right quadriceps strain) is playing catch, but team officials are still talking about how to put together his overall throwing program.
- Crawford had his streak of 32 successful stolen base attempts -- including 30 this season -- stopped when he was thrown out trying to steal second during the third.
- Liriano threw 47 of his 93 pitches in the third.