By Ashley Dunkak
@AshleyDunkak

CBS DETROIT — David Price dazzled again Friday, allowing only one earned run over eight innings as the Detroit Tigers notched a 2-1 win over the Chicago White Sox and moved to 9-1 on the season.

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Detroit stranded eight base runners Friday, and going into the ninth inning, the game was tied, 1-1. Closer Joakim Soria shut out the White Sox in the top of the ninth, and shortstop Jose Iglesias batted in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

Because the game was tied when Price left after 108 pitches, it will be marked a no decision on his record, but his teammates give him plenty of credit.

“For him to keep us in that ball game all the way through the ninth is extremely impressive,” second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “Leadoff walks didn’t phase him, there was really nothing that phased him. He just kept pouring strikes in there and trusting his fastball. That’s another David Price start.

“Nothing seemed to rattle him or deter him from throwing strikes,” Kinsler added. “He just continued to pound the strike zone, use his fastball, a lot of confidence in his fastball in and out. That’s what he’s done basically every start. He’s really consistent.”

For Price, that fastball was key, as always.

“Command of the fastball was good,” Price said. “If I can have command of that, it doesn’t matter really what my offspeed pitches are doing. If I can command the ol’ number one on both sides of the plate, two-seam and four-seam, hitters know that. You have to be on the fastball to hit at this level. It just makes everything that much better.”

Price looked good in the field Friday, too, chasing down a couple of balls and throwing runners out.

“I take pride in being able to get off the mound and make good defensive plays,” Price said. “That’s why I was kind of beside myself after my game in Cleveland that I had a tailor-made double-play ball and then I throw the ball 30 feet to Ian at second base. I got another chance for it today.

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“I tweeted it after the game – winning that Gold Glove now is going to be a little bit harder, but that’s okay because I like a challenge,” Price added with a smile. “It was the exact same ball, and I was very happy that I made a good throw to second base and we were able to get that double play.”

The defense was mostly icing on the cake, of course. The one earned run Price allowed Friday was the first he had given up all season. What made Price smile after the game was that his start, impressive as it was, did not quite match up to the ones recently delivered by fellow starters Shane Greene and Alfredo Simon.

On Wednesday, Simon allowed no runs through eight innings. On Tuesday, Greene did the same.

“It’s always a competition,” Price said. “You don’t want to be that weakest link. Over the last three days, or last three games, I guess I am the weakest link, but if I’m going eight and just giving up one run, that’s a great job by Greene and Big Pasta in those last two games against Pittsburgh.”

After churning out runs at a scorching pace in the first seven games of the season, Detroit’s offense has tapered off in the last three. They scored two runs Tuesday, one run Wednesday and two runs Friday. Price has confident the hitters will get back on the right track. In the meantime, he seemed thrilled at how the starters have made life a bit easier for them.

“Sometimes you’ve got to win 1-nothing,” Price said. “Sometimes you’ve got to win 2 to 1. That’s part of it. That’s got to make our hitters feel better, knowing that they don’t have to come in here and put up six and seven runs for us to win. They’re hitting the balls hard. They always do … They’ll stick with it. This is the hardest-working offense I really feel like I’ve ever seen. They’ll be just fine.”

There was some doubt about how the rotation would look this season, with Greene and Simon less heralded than the men they replaced — Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello. Tigers catcher Alex Avila is not surprised the rotation has done so well, but he was also not surprised people were concerned about it.

“It’s easy to do because games hadn’t been played and you need something to talk about,” Avila said. “I think everybody in here realized we still had a pretty good staff, and guys have shown that they can be consistent. I figured throughout spring training, catching these guys, I didn’t think we would miss a beat.

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“Yeah, you miss losing guys like Ricky and Max,” Avila added, “but you’ve also got to look at what you have. You can’t worry about what you don’t have.”