Price pitches well before leaving with tightness
Lefty David Price won the matchup with Tigers ace Justin Verlander with a dazzling performance for his AL-leading eighth win.
But it wasn't all good as Price was forced to leave the game after seven innings for what the Rays said were precautionary reasons due to lower back tightness.
Price said the decision to leave the game was his, and does not expect to miss any time: "I'll be pitching in five days."
Rays manager Joe Maddon was a little more cautious in his assessment: "Any time a pitcher is going to tell me that their back is bothering him a little bit, I'm definitely going to take him out of the game. You don't know exactly what that means. It's such a broad brush. It could be a lot of different things. So, I was immediately concerned about that."
Price was pitching extremely well in Friday's 4-2 win over Detroit, allowing two runs on five hits while striking out seven and throwing only 78 pitches through the seven innings. He has worked seven or more innings in nine of his last 11 starts, and allowed two or fewer runs in 11 of his 16 starts.
He also has been up to the level of competition, going 3-1 in a recent stretch against CC Sabathia, R.A. Dickey, Cole Hamels and now Verlander.
"I try to treat every game the same," Price said. "You can't go out there and give up two or three runs in five or six innings or you are going to get a loss. I just got out there and try to treat it the same and attack their hitters."
Jennings hits two homers in victory
--LF Desmond Jennings seemed to finally shake off the effects of the left knee sprain that sidelined him for three weeks earlier with his best game of the season, hitting two home runs off Detroit ace RHP Justin Verlander and making a spectacular catch of a foul ball when he dove headfirst over the retaining wall down the line.
--3B Evan Longoria didn't offer a timetable for his return, but said the June 18 setback in his recovery from an April 30 partial tear of his left hamstring was not a major concern. "We're not back to square one by any means," Longoria said. "I've actually been feeling better these past couple days than I had at any point throughout the rehab even when I went out to play. I think it's just a matter of fighting the urge to go hard right now and letting it heal up to 100 percent." Longoria said he would have to go through a progression on field drills once he resumes baseball activities.
--OF Sam Fuld took batting practice for the first time since the spring surgery on his right wrist and was encouraged he'd be ready to start a 20-day rehab assignment even before the July 9-11 All-Star break. "I worked really hard to get here," Fuld said.
--RHP Joel Peralta will return to the Rays bullpen on Saturday after serving his eight-game suspension, and RHP Kyle Farnsworth is expected to join him as he will be reinstated from the disabled list, having missed the entire season to this point with a right elbow strain. RHP Jeremy Hellickson is also set to be activated from the DL (shoulder fatigue) to start. RHP Brandon Gomes and LHP Cesar Ramos are expected to be sent to Triple-A Durham to make room.
--2B/RF Ben Zobrist has heated up in June, helping fill the void created by injuries to OF Matt Joyce and 3B Evan Longoria. After hitting .203 (35-for-172) through the first two months of the season, Zobrist is hitting .349 (30-for-86) in June, and .403 (27-for-67) with 10 extra-base hits, 15 walks and 13 RBI in 19 games since June 7.
BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Previous players to hit two homers off Tigers ace Justin Verlander in the same game before Desmond Jennings did. Shelley Duncan, Carlos Quentin, Nick Swisher were the others.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I feel like I hadn't gotten a hit in a month." -- LF Desmond Jennings, who snapped a lengthy slump with two homers Friday.