PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) — David Price looked sharp for much of his six-plus innings of work, and B.J. Upton had two hits and two RBI to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-3 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Thursday.
Price scattered seven hits and three runs in his longest outing of the spring. He struck out five and retired nine straight batters at one point. Coming in, Price had pitched just 6 2-3 innings and had a 6.75 ERA.
"I thought David was real sharp," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I liked how he kept his fastball down and was able to get across some breaking pitches for strikes. He looked very fresh toward the end."
Jason Kubel and Delmon Young each homered for the Twins. Young's seventh-inning blast came on Price's final pitch of the game and traveled over 400 feet in left-center field. It was Young's first homer of the spring.
"I was happy with the game but hated that it ended on a sour note," Price said.
"I love what B.J. is doing right now, it's perfect," Maddon said. "To me he should bottle this up and use it for the next 10, 12 years."
The Rays took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh when Rico Brignac singled home backup catcher Nevin Ashley. Brignac would also score later in the inning on a sacrifice bunt by Rashad Eldridge.
Mike Eckstrom pitched two scoreless innings and Sean Rodriguez continued his hot spring for the Rays with his team-leading 19th hit, while Carlos Pena struck out three times and is now batting .083.
Liriano gave up three runs and seven hits over four innings. He struck out six.
Minnesota catcher Joe Mauer was 2 for 4 with a double and raised his spring average to .440.