Published January 13, 2015
The Tampa Bay Rays have never won a series in Colorado. Ace left-hander David Price will try to change that on Saturday night in the second contest of a three-game series with the Rockies.
The Rays won the opener on Friday 7-4 in 10 innings for just their third victory in 10 games all-time in Colorado.
The Rockies had taken two of three from the Rays in each of the previous two meetings, coming in 2009 and 2007, respectively. Both sets took place in Colorado and Tampa Bay hasn't won a set over Colorado since a three-game sweep at home in 2004.
But Tampa Bay took the early series advantage when Evan Longoria delivered a go-ahead RBI single in the 10th. Kelly Johnson also homered in the extra frame, while Jose Lobaton had three hits and scored twice as the Rays snapped a two-game slide.
Six Rays relievers combined to strike out nine while holding the Rockies scoreless in the final five innings. Kyle Farnsworth picked up his first win of the year while Fernando Rodney earned his fourth save.
"The hitting wasn't there and then the pitching struggled a little bit. We're just not together in sync yet, but we will be," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "But that's the type of game I expect our team to win; late, tight and on the road."
Michael Cuddyer and Josh Rutledge each hit homers for Colorado in the first and second innings, respectively, while Nolan Arenado went 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI.
"We had a few opportunities to win that game, but we didn't get the hit or even at times we just needed a productive out to score. We couldn't get it tonight," said Rockies manager Walt Weiss, whose club was returning home following a 3-4 road trip.
Troy Tulowitzki did not start for Colorado due to leg soreness, but was able to pinch hit. He hopes to be in the lineup on Saturday along with Dexter Fowler, who extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games in the opener before exiting in the fifth inning with a hip injury.
Should they play, the two would face Price, who is coming off his first victory of the season.
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner had gone 0-2 over his first five starts -- all losses for the Rays -- before beating the Chicago White Sox on Sunday. Price gave up three runs on six hits and two walks, striking out a season-high nine over seven innings to lower his season earned run average to 5.21.
"David was good, he pitched really, really well. His fastball was good, he had a really good hook and good change-ups. I thought he was really good," Maddon said.
The 27-year-old has faced the Rockies once before, on June 17, 2009, and took a loss after getting touched for five runs on 10 hits over seven innings.
Getting the call for the Rockies is right-hander Jon Garland, who is coming off back-to-back losses, his first two defeats of the season.
On Sunday in Arizona, Garland yielded four runs -- three earned -- on eight hits and two walks over six innings. Control problems cost him in the third inning as he gave up a run on a pitch that got away from catcher Wilin Rosario and another in the frame on a wild pitch.
The right-hander is 2-2 on the season with a 4.65 ERA in five starts and 5-2 lifetime versus the Rays with a 3.27 ERA in 11 matchups.