Tampa Bay lefties Price, Moore tough on Sox

Tampa Bay lefties Price, Moore tough on Sox
July 24, 2013, 11:15 pm
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BOSTON -- On Monday, it was Matt Moore. On Wednesday, it was David Price.

Two lefties, in the heat of a division race, dominating the Red Sox.

Tampa Bay's duo of Moore and Price have each thrown complete games against Boston in this four-game series, which concludes Thursday night at Fenway Park.

Moore pitched a shutout on Monday in a 3-0 victory. Price pitched nine innings of one-run ball in the Rays' 5-1 win on Wednesday.

After the game, the Red Sox tipped their cap to Price.

"Well, he was throwing strikes all night long," said manager John Farrell. "I think up until about the sixth inning, he was right around 80 percent strikes, which is almost unheard of. Power stuff, stayed out of the middle of the plate. With the exception of [Napoli's] solo home run, he never gave us a chance to build any kind of inning. And tip your hat. He pitched one heck of a game against us."

It came just two nights after Moore was brilliant against the Red Sox.

"Unfortunately, the last two times we faced these lefties, we haven't given our pitchers much run support," said Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino after the loss. "But it's part of the game. I never take credit away from a guy who goes out there and pitches well."

Victorino later added, "Good pitching beats good hitting, right?"

Correct. Especially lefties such as Moore and Price, who both pitched ahead in the count throughout their respective starts.

"For years, they rode the strength of their rotation," said Farrell. "That's no different right now. And they've got two left-handers that are pitching as well as anybody in the game."

Moore threw 109 pitches on Monday, with 74 of them strikes. Price threw just 97 pitches on Wednesday, 72 for strikes. He became the first visiting pitcher to throw a complete game with fewer than 100 pitches at Fenway Park since Chien-Ming Wang did it for the Yankees on 93 pitches in 2008.

"[Price] forced us to swing the bat early in the count," said Farrell. "A lot of ground balls. A lot of balls at people. And that's what can happen."

In two of the last three games, Moore and Price are what happened to the Red Sox. And they've given the Rays a chance to leave Boston with a half-game lead in the AL East because of it.