The Tampa Bay Rays and Cincinnati Reds started their three game series opener Friday night, and the Rays came out victors in a low scoring affair. Left-fielder Matt Joyce homered and left-hander David Price allowed one run in 8 1/3 innings lifting the Rays to a 2-1 victory over the Reds in the opener at Great American Ball Park.
Price, pitched 8 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and one earned run with one walk and 10 strikeouts.
Joyce went 2-for-3 for Tampa Bay, which won in Cincinnati for the first time in franchise history.
Price allowed just two hits and three baserunners through five innings. His changeup kept Reds batters off balance throughout Friday’s outing.
Price did what’s required to keep Cincinnati’s offense quiet, prevent speedy center fielder Billy Hamilton from reaching base. Hamilton went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
Second baseman Brandon Phillips went 2-for-4 with a double for Cincinnati (3-7), which collected only four hits. This offense is so bad, that they are so predictable.
Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto (0-2) labored with his control Friday night but hung around for seven innings and 119 pitches, allowing two runs on five hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
After three stints on the disabled list for Cueto last season, it certainly bodes well for Cincinnati that he seemed to get stronger in the latter innings of Friday’s start, striking out two of the final three batters he faced.
Finally, Cincinnati got on the board when first baseman Joey Votto hit an opposite-field home run off Price with one out. Votto’s first home run this season made the score 2-1.
Right-hander Grant Balfour replaced Price and walked three straight batters to load the bases with two outs. Balfour struck out pinch-hitter Brayan Pena for the save.
Cueto’s control abandoned him in the early innings Friday. In the first inning, he walked center fielder Desmond Jennings and Joyce before allowing an RBI single to third baseman Evan Longoria to put Tampa Bay ahead 1-0.
Cueto needed 26 pitches to get through the first inning, but the Rays left a pair of runners on base.
Johnny’s pitch count reached 46 through two innings. He allowed his second run of the game on a 452 feet homerun into the right-field seats by Joyce to make it 2-0.
Cincinnati had leadoff doubles in the third and fourth innings by catcher Devin Mesoraco and Phillips, but the Reds motto so far this season is get runners on and leave them stranded.
Price had six strikeouts through five innings to keep the Reds scoreless.
The umpire of the night, DJ Rayburn was so horrible, MLB needs to suspend him, alright that’s a bit much, but his strike zone tonight was pathetic.