Price’s infectious joy, competitive spirit bounces Blue Jays back

TORONTO — There is a joy David Price pitches with that is infectious. Sure, being blessed with an electric arm, steadfast durability and a relentless tenacity gives the ace left-hander ample reason to be happy. But not every athlete with his physical gifts has fun the way he does, a trait evident even when he shifts into competitive mode.

Take the sixth inning of Saturday’s 5-1 Toronto Blue Jays victory over the Baltimore Orioles, when Manny Machado led off the frame by smoking a 96 mph fastball right back to the mound. Price flicked his glove up just as the liner was about to whiz by him, took a deep breath and flashed his trademark grin, relieved about both the out and his safety. He walked around the mound laughing, before collecting himself and getting back to work, making sure to enjoy the moment.

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More often than not, his teammates do, too.

The Blue Jays certainly enjoyed the seven innings of three-hit, eight-strikeout ball Price gave them against the Orioles, precisely the type of rebound outing they were looking for after Friday night’s 10-2 drubbing, their first loss by more than three runs since an 8-3 setback to Detroit on July 4.

Price also pitched that game — for the Tigers.

Once again he was boss on the regular before a sellout crowd of 46,373 on a sun-kissed afternoon, shutting the Orioles out through the first six frames before a Caleb Joseph grounder snuck past Troy Tulowitzki and cashed in a leadoff walk to Chris Davis in the seventh, eating into a 5-0 Blue Jays lead.

Price proceeded to strikeout Junior Lake and Paul Janish to end the frame.

Aaron Sanchez in the eighth and Brett Cecil in the ninth proceeded to lock down Price’s fifth victory in seven starts for the Blue Jays.

Jose Bautista’s solo shot in the first and ground-rule RBI double in the third paced the offence, which enjoyed a death-by-paper-cut kind of afternoon against Mike Wright. The Blue Jays put up single runs in the first, third and fourth innings, positioning themselves for more in the latter two frames but failing to deliver the big blow they’re accustomed to, while tacking on another pair in the fifth to put the game out of reach.

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Ben Revere’s RBI single in the fourth made it 3-0 while Russell Martin’s run-scoring groundout and Ryan Goins’ run-scoring, ground-rule double made it a 5-0 contest in the fifth.

One of the stranger ejections the Blue Jays have had in recent memory came in the sixth, when Bautista was frustrated by a swing call on a check swing before striking out to end the frame. Bautista was clearly unhappy on his way back to the dugout and there was some chirping toward home plate umpire Tim Timmons, who eventually ejected Cliff Pennington.

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Bautista was out warming up in right field by that point.

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No matter, as it usually does when Price is on the mound, all ended well, and the good times didn’t belong to the pitcher alone.


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