CINCINNATI -- The value that David Price can bring to the Red Sox as a reliever was on full display on Friday at Great American Ball Park as manager John Farrell went to him in a high-leverage situation.
It was Price who was the winning pitcher in a 5-4 victory over the Reds, as the lefty went 2 2/3 scoreless innings while giving up three hits and one walk while striking out four.
For the entirety of his outing, which started in the bottom of the fifth inning against the heart of Cincinnati's order, Price pitched with a one-run lead.
Price also struck out the side in the sixth. He was able to serve as a sturdy bridge to the late-inning combo of Addison Reed and Craig Kimbrel.
"David was good for 40 to 50 pitches," said Farrell. "Hopefully it was going to bridge us to Addison. It did just that. It worked in our favor. I just felt like the left-hander in David going up against the heat of that order was the move to make. I know Rick [Porcello] did not want to come out of that game, and I fully respect that. When everyone's fresh down there and we have those pitchers to go to … it worked out well tonight."
In his late-season transition to the 'pen, Price has been unscored upon in his first two outings. He was limited to 11 starts this season due to multiple stints on the disabled list with left elbow woes.
The Red Sox elected not to bring Price back as a starter this season for two reasons. The first is that he was able to return quicker as a reliever. The second is the value he can provide in that role down the stretch. Deep bullpens have become a vital ingredient for any team that has a successful run in October.
"You know, he's healthy," said Farrell. "And that's the beauty in all of this. All the work that he's put in to get back to this point, and I don't want to say I marvel at it, but the way he comes out and throws strikes and quality strikes [is impressive]. We're talking nearly five innings in the past two months, and it's impressive to see the way he commands the baseball."
Of Price's 40 pitches, 26 were fastballs. He didn't even need to break out his curveball.
"They were swinging early, putting the ball in play, not a lot of foul balls. Executing and induce weak contact, get a lot of outs. A lot of them hit the first pitch," Price said.
Though Price was satisfied with his performance on the mound, his biggest thrill was provided at the plate, when he belted a single to left for his first hit since 2010, and just the third hit of his career. The hit ended an 0-for-38 drought for Price.
"I liked hitting way more [than pitching]," Price said. "That was cool. I was due."
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.