By Ashley Dunkak
CBS DETROIT – David Price delivered Tuesday night in his debut for the Detroit Tigers. He allowed three runs over 8 2/3 innings, but he struck out 10 and did not allow a walk, and the Tigers left Yankee Stadium with a victory in the second game of the four-game series.
Price was a major reason why.
“He did exactly what everyone was hoping he’d do,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus told Fox Sports Detroit after the game. “He pitched deep in the game, into the ninth inning. He really did a fantastic job. Gave up three runs against a very good team that has seen him quite a bit. Gave us a chance to win. Unfortunately we couldn’t get him the win, but we were able to get the win.”
Price had his struggles, giving up a pair of home runs – one in the second inning and one in the fifth – but never seemed rattled.
“His composure was off the charts,” Tigers shortstop Andrew Romine said. “No matter what happened, whether he gave up a hit or struck out the side, it didn’t matter. He was locked in and ready to go.”
Detroit closer Joe Nathan shook his head in disbelief and admiration when he talked about his impression of Price, whose lengthy outing prevented the Tigers from having to run through their entire bullpen in a game that only ended after 12 innings.
“What an absolute bulldog,” Nathan said. “A guy that just trusts his stuff, goes after hitters. You saw it – gives up a solo shot to [Brian] McCann, doesn’t make him timid at all, goes right back throwing heaters, throwing strikes, goes nine innings for us tonight and really, at a time where it would have been easy for him to go through seven and then we’ve got to cover what now is five innings, it would have put us in a hole, so bulldog, goes nine innings, and we’re still fresh for tomorrow.”
Catcher Alex Avila said that Price shook him off a few times – reasonable, the catcher said, given Price knows himself better than Avila at this point and has more experience facing the Yankees – but thought they worked well together overall and that their chemistry would grow in time.
While Avila sounded impressed by Price’s repertoire as a whole, he pointed to the change-up as the pitch that stood out.
“He’s always got a great fastball,” Avila said. “He had a really good change-up working today to go along with his other pitches. That change-up, I thought, was probably the difference-maker today. I didn’t realize he had that good of a change-up. It’s a pretty dirty pitch when you put that with his overpowering fastball and his cutter and breaking ball. He was a lot of fun to catch.”
Thanks to Detroit’s dramatic deadline acquisition of Price, there was plenty of hype leading up to his first outing, and Price seemed relieved to have lived up to the expectations at least for one night.
“I’m happy it’s over and I’m happy we won,” Price said. “I finally feel a part of the team. I was able to contribute tonight. It’s always a tough place to pitch, it’s always a tough lineup to pitch against, and I’m happy we came out on top.
“I feel a lot better about everything right now, just helping these guys win a game,” Price added later. “It feels good.”