The Rays entered Thursday night's game having not scored a run since the first inning of Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to the Mariners. But if anybody thought there would be a hangover Thursday night, they were sadly mistaken.
"I mean I really don't believe in that stuff," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's all about today's pitcher versus yesterday's pitcher, whatever guys might have a chance. [Hernandez] was just so good yesterday, there's nothing you could do about that. The thing I love about our group is that we don't let it bother us and we shouldn't, and when David pitches a game like that, it permits you to get it going."
Price did his best imitation of "The King," dominating a potent Angels offense to improve to 8-0 with a 1.70 ERA over his last 11 starts, extending his career-best winning streak to eight games, which is the longest active streak in the Major Leagues and a new Rays club record.
"Yeah, I guess it has to be," said Price, conceding that he's on the best roll of his young career. "Feels like I've thrown the ball pretty well over the last however many starts it's been. But I feel good about what I'm doing."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he thought his club had the right approach Thursday night.
"But David Price, he really pitched well, had both corners going, had a little cutter he used to backdoor us a little bit, then used his breaking ball," Scioscia said. "He pitched a strong game. If it's tighter, maybe a hit here or there can make a difference, but as they got the bigger lead, he had a lot of room to work with and he pounded both sides of the plate. He pitched well."
Burke Badenhop pitched a scoreless eighth and Wade Davis held the Angels scoreless in the ninth to extend the Rays' streak to 32 consecutive innings in which they have not allowed the Angels to score a run.
"[Their rotation is] the heart and soul of their club," Scioscia said. "That organization has done an incredible job of using whatever early picks they had in the Draft to do a great job of drafting a terrific rotation. They piece some things together, and they're doing extremely well on the defensive side, both in pitching and making plays out there, and that's really the cornerstone of what they're all about right now."
Ben Zobrist ended the Rays' scoring drought in the second inning with one swing of his bat when he connected on a 2-2 pitch from Angels starter Dan Haren for his 13th home run of the season.
B.J. Upton led off the fourth with his fourth home run of the road trip. Before the inning was over, the Rays had put together five more hits to account for three additional runs, sending Haren to an early shower while handing Price a 5-0 lead.
Hardly content with what felt like an offensive explosion, the Rays got back to work in the fifth when Evan Longoria hit his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot off Jerome Williams that cleared the center-field wall to push the lead to 7-0.
Longoria's home run was his first since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 7 after missing 85 games due to a partially torn left hamstring. The Rays slugger hails from the Anaheim area and continued to treat Angel Stadium like it was his home. Longoria is now hitting .431 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in 51 career at-bats at Angel Stadium.
"I was thinking about it before the game," said Longoria, who is hitting .242 with six RBIs since his return. "Historically this has been a good place for me to hit. I've been contributing kind of like I wanted to over the last six or seven games. So, regardless of the home run or not, we've been winning ballgames and it did feel good to finally hit one over the fence. ... And especially in front of my family, and that makes it that much more special."
At the end of the day, the Rays felt pretty good about putting Hernandez's masterpiece behind them.
"Getting one hit was nice early and everybody just pouring it on," Zobrist said. "Definitely a good win after yesterday and it helps us forget it a lot easier."