Red Sox Notes: David Price Pitching Like True Ace After Tough First Month

BOSTON — David Price finally is the ace the Red Sox were looking for.

While no one was expecting the left-hander to struggle the entire season, it still was disheartening to see Price’s ERA sitting at 6.75 after the first week of May. But Price was outstanding in the Red Sox’s 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, and the victory was good for his eighth consecutive quality start since May 12.

“I think he’s just settled into what has been his normal delivery for a number of years,
Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Price. “You look at what he’s done since, I guess over the last eight starts, it’s progressively getting better. He’s been more efficient with not only his pitch mix, but the number of pitches thrown. He’s been to quality locations throughout, and it’s great to see a guy go out and work like he does.”

Price’s only hiccup Sunday was a solo home run to Seattle Mariners right fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who killed the Red Sox this series, going 5-for-10 with three home runs, a double and seven RBIs. And Price came up big in the innings after Boston tied things up and pulled ahead. After Hanley Ramirez drove in the Red Sox’s first run in the sixth, Price came back in the seventh and dealt three straight outs after giving up a long single to third baseman Kyle Seager. And when Mookie Betts’ home run put the Red Sox on top in the next half of the inning, Price worked a 1-2-3 eighth with strikeouts to Gutierrez and second baseman Robinson Cano.

“It was very big,” Price said. “I had two chances for shutdown innings (Sunday), and I was able to do it both times, even after giving up the single off the Monster to Seager. That was good to be able to get those next three guys out, and it’s something I’ve had opportunities to do in my last couple starts, and I haven’t been able to do it. … So to be able to shut them down twice in those innings today, that felt good.”

And if you like what you’re seeing from Price now, consider that he doesn’t think he’s reached his peak.

“I’m getting better, absolutely,” Price said. “But there’s always room for improvement no matter how good you are, so I’m still not satisfied.”

Here are some more notes from Sunday’s win.

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— Betts hit a no-doubter to put the Red Sox ahead in the seventh. And despite it being his 15th home run of the season already, the right fielder doesn’t think he’s a home run hitter.

“It’s just going over the fence right now,” Betts said. “I promise you I’m not a home run hitter. It’s weird, but I’m just trying to make solid contact, and let it go wherever it goes.”

— David Ortiz robbed second, his second stolen base of the season, in the eighth inning, and the Fenway Park crowd went absolutely nuts.

His teammates thought it was pretty hilarious.

“It’s big for him to steal a base,” Betts said with a smile. “It’s funny, but he got into scoring position, and if Hanley gets a hit right there, I’m sure (third base coach Brian Butterfield’s) going to wave him. So if we can get another run there, it’s huge. But whatever, just to see a 40-year-old guy steal a base is always fun to watch.”

Ortiz, on the other hand, might have gotten a second wind from his standing ovation.

“Oh, man. That kind of motivates me to steal more bags now,” Ortiz said. “That was great. It’s fun, man. The fans, they just enjoy watching all of us doing things, and it’s great.”

— Xander Bogaerts became the first Major League Baseball player to reach the 100-hit mark this season with a leadoff single in the sixth inning. The shortstop did it in 68 games, and the only Red Sox player to reach the milestone faster was Tris Speaker, who did it in 64 team games in 1912.

— Farrell had an update on Brock Holt, who’s been out since May 19 with a concussion. The outfielder was reevaluated by concussion specialist Dr. Micky Collins before Sunday’s game.

“He had a very good re-exam here (Sunday),” Farrell said after the game. “We’ve got still some protocol to go through to get him on a rehab assignment, but hopefully in the coming days that would begin.”

Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via Jun 19, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher David Price (24) stands on the mound as Seattle Mariners right fielder Franklin Gutierrez (21) rounds the bases after his home run during the fourth inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

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