St. Petersburg, FL – David Price outdueled Justin Verlander on Friday and Desmond Jennings smoked a pair of solo home runs as the Tampa Bay Rays downed the Detroit Tigers, 4-2, in the second tilt of a four-game series at Tropicana Field.
Price (11-4) allowed two runs on five hits while striking out seven and issuing one walk over seven innings before exiting prior to the eighth with an apparent lower-back issue.
"David was fantastic," said Rays manager Joe Maddon of Price. "Good energy, and the starting pitching always sets that up."
Jake McGee took over for Price and worked a scoreless eighth before Fernando Rodney tossed a 1-2-3 ninth to collect his 22nd save of the season.
Ben Zobrist clubbed a solo home run among his two hits and Luke Scott added an RBI on a groundout for the Rays, who snapped a four-game slide.
Verlander (8-5) battled through six innings and allowed four runs on a walk and eight strikeouts to absorb the loss. It was just the fourth time in his career that the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner has allowed three home runs in a game.
Delmon Young ripped a solo shot and Prince Fielder contributed an RBI for the defending AL Central champs, who have dropped three of their last four.
Tampa Bay struck first in their first at-bat. Carlos Pena reached on an infield single and B.J Upton followed with a solid base hit into left, which allowed an alert Pena to make it to third. Pena then scored on a groundout by Scott to give the Rays the early lead.
After making a spectacular diving catch into the left field stands to end the Tigers third inning, Jennings supplied some pop with his bat in the home half.
Leading off the frame, Verlander left a fastball out over the plate and Jennings crushed it deep into the seats in left for his first long ball since April 24, and a 2-0 Rays advantage.
Verlander made another mistake to begin the fourth when he left a fastball up to Zobrist, who deposited it about three row back into the right field stands to widen the lead to 3-0.
"I just fell behind some guys and put them in fastball counts and they were able to take advantage of it," admitted Verlander.
Detroit got on the board in the fifth when Young belted a fastball from Price over the wall in left-center, but the Rays got it right back in the home half when Jennings tagged Verlander for the second time.
Jennings crushed another fastball, this one landing about seven rows back in left to push the Rays edge to 4-1.
Ramon Santiago led off the Detroit seventh with a double, advanced to third on a groundout by Miguel Cabrera and scored via a Fielder groundout to cut the deficit to two.
The Tigers have not been shut out in a game since July 17, 2011, a streak of 145 consecutive games. It is the longest such streak in Tigers history, surpassing the previous franchise record of 110 consecutive games with at least one run scored from August 28, 1992-June 29, 1993...Price improved to 4-1 in seven career meetings against the Tigers...Young's homer was just the ninth allowed by Price this season.