Price pitches Rays past Twins

Published 10:26 am Monday, March 4, 2013

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Coming off a Cy Young-winning season, David Price struck out five batters in three shutout innings to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 7-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday.

“I’m not good enough to just flip a switch,” said Price, who was 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA last season. “April is less than a month away. I’m not that type of person. I don’t care if it’s backyard baseball or whatever. If it’s my day to pitch and my day to play, I’m going to take it serious. I don’t want to come out here and get it handed to me and be like, ‘Oh, OK, I don’t care, this is just spring training.”’

Twins newcomer Mike Pelfrey also made an effective start, tossing three shutout innings.

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Rays designated hitter Luke Scott exited the game after one at-bat. He said his right hamstring tightened up on him and he left as a precaution. He hopes to be back in the lineup in a few days.

“The muscle’s just tight,” Scott said. “I think on a cold day, a little bit of fatigue from working my legs. I worked my legs pretty hard this week. I’ve had stuff like this many times before. I’m not worried.”

Kelly Johnson doubled in two runs and Chris Gimenez hit a two-run homer for Tampa Bay. Price, last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner, allowed one hit.

“Price was sharp,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “I thought we played another sharp, well-played game.”

Price wasn’t happy with his first appearance this spring, when he walked one and allowed a hit in one inning of work. But he made the necessary adjustments and looked strong on a breezy, chilly afternoon.

“I came a long way in five days. That’s just me getting my work in with (pitching coach Jim Hickey),” Price said. “In the bullpen we figured some stuff out that I was doing last year, drifting toward home plate. Just being able to stay back makes everything a lot easier … allows my arm to catch up to my body and it allows me to be able to throw the ball where I was trying to. That’s what I did today. That felt good.”

Coming off Tommy John surgery and competing for a spot in the rotation, Pelfrey yielded one hit and walked one as the former Mets right-hander rebounded from a shaky outing in his spring debut.

Trevor Plouffe had two hits and an RBI for Minnesota.

“It was kind of a tough day, but you kind of know that going in because Price, he was throwing the ball really good,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.