Crawford's legs, Price's arm carry Rays

Crawford's legs, Price's arm carry Rays

ATLANTA -- Carl Crawford got his special thing going early and he kept it going throughout the Rays' rain-delayed 10-4 win over the Braves on Tuesday night.

By winning, the Rays remained in a tie with the Yankees for first place in the American League East, as the teams share the best record in baseball at 41-23.

  • 134 wins
  • 118 wins
After a two-hour, 20-minute rain delay, the Interleague contest got under way and the crowd was treated to a look at Crawford's unique gifts, as well as those of Tampa Bay's other young stars.

Crawford used his speed in the first to force Braves shortstop Yunel Escobar to hurry his throw, which resulted in an error and the Rays' first baserunner.

"I think our reputation precedes us a bit, where people are going to have to come and get balls and, maybe, have to hurry a bit," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "And as soon as that happened, I said to [bench coach Dave Martinez], 'He got the whole thing rolling.' That was big."

It was big because of what happened next. Evan Longoria followed with a two-run homer -- his 12th of the season -- and Sean Rodriguez added a two-run double to put the Rays up 4-0. Longoria's home run extended his streak of reaching base to 32 games, while Rodriguez's double extended his hitting streak to 15 games.

Crawford added a double and an RBI triple, but it was what he did in the sixth that personified the skills and heart of No. 13.

Ben Zobrist singled with Crawford on second and John Jaso on third. Crawford normally scores with ease on such a play, and he would have done so this time had he not slipped between third and home. Despite the slip, the speedster managed to get to his feet and scurry headfirst around Braves catcher Brian McCann to score the second of the three runs he would score on the night, putting Tampa Bay up 7-3.

"I'm watching the whole thing, because it's right in front of me," Maddon said. "He just lost his footing, and it was still kind of slick. And you could see the divot come out, and he goes down. I don't think anybody else would have scored after falling like he had. Fortunately, the ball was off line, and he was able to get into the inside corner."

Maddon likened the play to an option quarterback running for the end zone.

"He stayed in bounds just enough, showed the ball, and he broke the plane at the pylon," Maddon said.

Once Crawford got to his feet, he quickly assessed the situation.

"He wasn't really blocking the plate, I saw a little seam I could get in, and that was really the only chance I had," Crawford said.

McCann didn't like his odds on the play.

"I'm not that quick," McCann said. "When I caught [the ball], I knew it would be a footrace, and I probably wasn't going to win it."

David Price started for the Rays and won his AL-best 10th game of the season, despite struggling with his control. The 24-year-old left-hander allowed two earned runs in five innings, but was inefficient while doing so as he threw 113 pitches.

"I've had a rough stretch here, I'd say about the last month," Price said. "I've thrown well. I just haven't thrown as well as I've wanted to. I can throw better, and I want to get back to that point where I was."

Price did manage to pitch himself out of several jams, including a bases-loaded, no-out situation in the second that saw him escape by striking out Kenshin Kawakami and Martin Prado before getting Jason Heyward to ground out to end the inning.

"That [inning] probably helped me more than anything," Price said. "It gave me more confidence in my stuff."

Price downplayed his 10th win, choosing instead to talk about the Rays' offense.

"The offense did a great job tonight," Price said. "The defense made some good plays, same story."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.