Coming into today, Elliot Johnson had been in a slump at the plate. He’d come back from the DL within the last couple weeks, but he’d yet to get a hit in over 15 plate appearances since his return. He has a golden opportunity to gain more playing time right now, as Reid Brignac is still struggling at the plate, so all Johnson needs to do is hit to justify getting in the lineup more.
Well, Johnson made his plate appearances count today. With the Rays up by one run in the seventh inning, Johnson came up to the plate with two runners on and a chance to blow the game open for the Rays. He did just that, hitting a deep home run and sealing the win for the Rays.
David Price started for the Rays today and struggled in the first inning, allowing two runs to score while laboring through a 27 pitch inning. But he settled down after that and was lights out, as DRaysBay notes:
All told, Price threw 27 pitches in the first, but was able to rebound and put up goose eggs through eight. He threw 120 pitches, two shy of his career high, and topped out at 97.5 MPH. He induced eight swinging strikes (6.66%) and seemed to get stronger as the game progressed, striking out four of the last five hitters he faced. Of his ten strikeouts, Price victimized Weeks the most, K’ing the leadoff hitter three consecutive times after his single in the first.
Also, all eight of the Brewers’ hits (5 off Price, 3 off Farnsworth) were singles. No Beerman was able to put solid wood on the ball today.
This win gave the Rays their second series victory in a row, and it moved them a game up in the standings, as both the Yankees and Red Sox lost today. They have an off-day tomorrow, giving them time to travel to Houston before opening their series with the Astros on Friday.