ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Price’s unfulfilling follow-up to his 2012 American League Cy Young campaign took another frustrating if not ominous turn on Wednesday when he left injured in the third inning of a 9-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field.
The Rays announced that Price, who fell to 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA, was suffering from “triceps tightness.”
Price walked off the mound flexing his left hand after surrendering a run-scoring single to David Ortiz on a 95-mph fastball. Manager Joe Maddon and a trainer rushed to ascertain the problem and the left-hander appeared to make no plea to remain in the game.
Price left trailing 2-0. Reliever Jamey Wright was hammered, allowing four hits and a grand slam by Stephen Drew that gave Boston an 8-0 lead. Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes also had RBIs for Boston, which had lost three straight games.
Red Sox starter Jon Lester was workmanlike in snapping the Rays’ six-game win streak, mixing speeds and pitches to quell potential rallies in the middle innings. He allowed two earned runs on eight hits, with five strikeouts in seven innings to improve to 6-0 for the first time in his career.
Price was charged with four earned runs on five hits and a walk in 2 1/3 innings. Just 37 of his 57 pitches were strikes.
The Rays have lost in seven of his nine starts this season. Price has surrendered eight leads over his last six starts and been dogged by questions of about his velocity. His fastball has been tracked at an average of 2.2 mph slower this season than last, when he went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA in 31 starts.
The Rays cut the deficit to 8-2 in the bottom of the third on a run-scoring triple by Desmond Jennings and an RBI groundout by Ben Zobrist.
Will Middlebrooks hit his seventh homer of the year in the eighth off Kyle Farnsworth for a 9-2 Boston lead.
Notes: Boston closer Andrew Bailey is expected to be activated sometime on the current nine-game road trip. He threw a bullpen session on Tuesday at Tropicana Field in his first action since going on the disabled list with a right biceps strain and will work again today. He is expected to either make a minor league rehab stint or join the Red Sox in Minnesota. ... Dustin Pedroia extended his hit streak to seven games. ... Drew’s grand slam was the second of his career.