BOSTON -- David Price's complete game against the Red Sox on Wednesday night gave the team its fifth complete game in its last 14.
Prior to that the Rays had no compete games in the first 88 games of the season. The five complete games in July tied the club record for a single month (June 2002) and are the most by any team in any month since the Mets threw five in August 2010.
The Rays have been a different team since Price returned from the 15-day disabled list on July 2, going 15-3, and the rotation has gone 13-3 with a 2.17 ERA.
Since coming back, Price has been a strike-throwing machine. He is the only pitcher since Baseball Reference's pitch-count data has been compiled (1999) to throw three complete games on fewer than 100 pitches in a span of four starts.
Price is fine with opposing hitters wanting to take pitches against him, "because I feel like they'll be 0-2 pretty quick."
Price's three under-100-pitch complete games equal the most of any pitcher in an entire season since 1999, putting him in company with Atlanta's Greg Maddux (2000), Minnesota's Brad Radke (2001) and Oakland's Mark Mulder (2003).
Price is now 19-3 with a 3.27 ERA in 33 career starts at American League East ballparks,. not including Tropicana Field.
Escobar's dazzling defense has Rays abuzz
BOSTON -- Yunel Escobar's spectacular behind-the-back toss, which started a double play during Wednesday night's 5-1 win, was still being talked about on Thursday afternoon.
Second baseman Ben Zobrist was the pivotman on the play, taking the throw barehanded and making a successful relay to first to complete the twin killing.
"I was definitely surprised," Zobrist said. "You don't expect somebody to go behind their back in a game. Maybe in batting practice, playing around. And it was smooth and easy and perfect."
Zobrist said that for him the most impressive part of the play was "how easy he made it look."
"Anybody else is going to make that look more difficult," he said. "It was smooth, easy, and a perfect play. I had the easy part.
"You don't draw plays like that up. That's just one of those things where he's really good, and he makes it look really easy, and he makes it easy on everybody else, too. To make the play."
Rays negotiating to explore alternate stadium sites
BOSTON -- According to a story in Thursday's Tampa Tribune, Rays officials and St. Petersburg City attorneys have been meeting to negotiate an agreement that would allow the team to explore other possible stadium sites outside St. Petersburg.
Per the report, the most recent meeting took place on Wednesday.
St. Petersburg City Council Chairman Karl Nurse told the Tribune that the proposal being discussed would free the Rays to explore possible sites in Tampa and Hillsborough County after first conducting an extensive review of a proposed site in the Carillon area. Any agreement reached would also restate that the Rays are under contract to play at Tropicana Field through 2027.
"It seemed to me, in very short order, that there was conceptual agreement as to where we were trying to go," said Nurse, as quoted in the story. "Maybe there would be some money that would change hands; I don't think that is the critical element."
Principal owner Stuart Sternberg spoke to reporters in Boston on Tuesday, allowing that the Rays would like to do what they think is necessary "to at least see what's out there."
Results, not average, important to Longoria
BOSTON -- Evan Longoria, who has hit safely in seven straight games, recently talked about his approach on offense.
"I just want to continue to produce," Longoria said. "The average is important, but in my mind it's not the most important thing offensively when you're looking at what you're trying to do as a team."
Longoria noted that a conversation with former Major League manager Tony LaRussa made him think a little bit differently about what a good offensive player should be trying to achieve.
"I asked [LaRussa] about Albert Pujols and what makes him the special player that he is offensively," he said. "And he had mentioned to me that Albert's biggest attribute offensively was that he was able to play the scoreboard. And for however you want to take it, you don't worry about getting a base hit in that situation, you just kind of worry about doing the right thing offensively. Not only trying to be a good player and getting a base hit, but being a good teammate."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.