CINCINNATI – David Price took a shutout into the ninth and Matt Joyce homered, helping the Tampa Bay Rays beat the slumping Reds 2-1 on Friday night for their first victory in Cincinnati.
The teams have a brief and lopsided interleague history. The Reds had won eight of their nine previous games, with Tampa Bay’s only win coming at Tropicana Field on June 28, 2011, on Evan Longoria’s game-ending homer.
Longoria singled home a run in the first inning on Friday, and Joyce added his homer to deep right field off Johnny Cueto (0-2) as the Rays finally got a victory in their second visit to Great American Ball Park. They also visited in 2005 and got swept while giving up 34 runs in three games.
Price (2-0) allowed four hits and one walk, losing his shutout when Joey Votto homered to the opposite field with one out in the ninth. Grant Balfour walked the bases loaded in-between getting the final two outs, throwing a called third strike by pinch-hitter Brayan Pena to secure his third save.
Despite the teams’ limited history, they have one close connection. First-year Reds manager Bryan Price pitched for Joe Maddon when the Rays manager ran the Double-A Midland Angels in the 1980s. Price joked before the game that they got to know each other during Maddon’s trips to the mound in the third and fourth innings to replace him.
No early exits in this one. Both starters hung in there against struggling offenses. Tampa Bay has scored a total of eight runs in its last five games. The Reds have scored only 28 runs overall, the second-fewest in the National League.
Both were wasteful again.
Cueto needed 26 pitches to get through the first inning, when he walked two with only one out. Longoria singled home a run, but that’s all the Rays could manage. Joyce led off the third inning with a homer that landed way up in the right-field seats for his team-high second of the season.
Tampa Bay had chances for a lot more. The Rays stranded four runners in scoring position in the first five innings against Cueto, who gave up five hits and walked four over seven innings.
The Reds wasted leadoff doubles by Devin Mesoraco in the third and Brandon Phillips in the fourth. Phillips had two of Cincinnati’s hits off Price.