David Price has had his share of triumphs lately, but he faced one of his biggest tests Thursday night against the Seattle Mariners.
Suffice to say he answered the call.
The Mariners entered Thursday ranking in the top 10 in nearly every major offensive category, but they were no match for Price. As a result, the Boston Red Sox claimed their seventh straight victory with the left-hander on the mound following their 2-1 victory at Safeco Field.
Price allowed just one run over seven innings, surrendering five hits with no walks while striking out seven.
With the southpaw paving the way to seven straight victories for Boston, his success hardly is a fluke at this point, regardless of the quality of the recent smattering of opponents he’s faced. And with Thursday’s victory, it’s apparent Price is in a groove and able to stifle even the most potent of lineups.
Issues that plagued him early in the season — ultimately resulting in him getting his hand evaluated last month — are nary a worry at this juncture. His command has improved, his velocity has seen an uptick and his pitch efficiency is getting better, which is enabling him to go deeper into games.
“He was outstanding; we’re very pleased with the way he’s been throwing the ball,” Sox manager Alex Cora said after the game, as seen on NESN. “You see the velocity, he went seven, he’s right where we want him to be.”
As he continues to get more and more difficult to hit, Price is proving that the combination of him and Chris Sale are among the toughest 1-2 punches of any rotation in the league.
Here are some other notes from Red Sox-Mariners:
— Xander Bogaerts was an essential contributor in every facet of Thursday’s win. On top of one solid defensive play after another, he provided the go-ahead home run with a solo shot in the sixth inning.
After starting the season on a tear, a trip to the disabled list cooled off some of the shortstop’s heat. He’s appeared to regain his stride of late, though, tallying hits in nine of his 13 games this month, which includes four multi-hit contests.
— Jackie Bradley Jr’s. struggles at the plate this season have been well-documented, but Thursday was an important night for the Sox center fielder. He put Boston on the board in the second inning by lacing a double down the right field line.
The double was the 100th of his career, as he finished his night 1-for-3 with a walk in addition to the RBI two-bagger.
— The Red Sox are 40-3 when leading after seven innings this season.
Such success closing out games has highlighted the Red Sox’s reliable system of utilizing Matt Barnes, Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel to close out games. Save for a few collective meltdowns, the trio has given Cora plenty of reason to feel confident in his squad’s ability to preserve the lead in the final third of the contest.
— Although the Red Sox bullpen now definitely will be without Carson Smith for the remainder of the season, things continue to look up for rehabbing reliever Tyler Thornburg. The 29-year-old is in the midst of his second stint with Triple-A Pawtucket and again pitched well in his fourth outing Thursday.
The righty struck out two in a hitless sixth inning, with his fastball topping out at 96 mph. He threw 11 of his 20 pitches for strikes and has surrendered just one hit and one walk over his four outings.
— On the same day the Red Sox signed first-round draft pick Triston Casas, their 2017 first-round selection Tanner Houck put on a good showing for High-A Salem on Thursday against the Lynchburg Hillcats.
The 21-year-old righty tossed six no-hit innings, striking out three and walking four. Joan Martinez relieved him and got the Sox within one strike of the no-hitter, but surrendered a single that plated a run. Salem ultimately won 6-1.
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