ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — After giving up a pair of home runs to David Ortiz in the Tampa Bay Rays’ Game 2 loss to the Red Sox in the American League Division Series at Fenway Park Saturday night, David Price made his frustration clear.
Not just with the nine hits and seven earned runs the Rays starter gave up over 7⅓ innings, but with Ortiz taking his time getting out of the batter’s box as his eighth-inning homer sailed toward Pesky’s pole.
“He steps in the bucket and hits a homer,” Price said. “And he stares at it to see if it’s fair or foul, I’m sure that’s what he would say. But as soon as he hit it and I saw it, I knew it was fair. Run.”
The hard feelings didn’t last long. As the teams prepared for Game 3 Monday at Tropicana Field, Ortiz said the two were able to speak and clear the air.
“It’s over,” Ortiz said Sunday. “We straightened things out. I have a lot of respect for David and he has the same for me. I’m not going to make a big deal out of this. I understand his frustration.
“He’s a good pitcher. He’s a guy that wants to see results every time we go out there. Sometimes things get out of hand. When you don’t see those results, you feel sometimes frustrated about them. But everything’s fine.”
The Rays were leaning heavily on Price to bounce back after an ugly 12-2 loss in Game 1, but the 28-year-old put up the worst postseason performance of his career.
Afterward, he took to social media to lash out at critics, including TBS analysts Dirk Hayhurst, who pitched for two seasons with the Padres and Blue Jays, and Tom Verducci, a longtime baseball writer for Sports Illustrated.
“Dirk Hayhurst...COULDNT hack it,” Price wrote. “Tom Verducci wasn’t even a water boy in high school...but yet they can still bash a player...SAVE IT NERDS.”
Price’s girlfriend, Tiffany Smith, who earlier in the week had harsh words for Sox fans on Twitter, also got swept up in the social network sparring, tweeting, “Wow he pimped the crap out of that homerun. #KeepItClassyBoston.”
Although he didn’t speak to media Sunday, in the end, Price apologized via Twitter.
“Last night got out of hand and I apologize for the things that I said on here . . . ,” he wrote. “if I offended you I am very sorry for doing so . . . #thatsnotme”
Rays manager Joe Maddon said he tries avoid policing his players’ social media behavior.
“I don’t want to take one isolated incident and try to make more out of than it actually is,” Maddon said. “I have a lot of faith in David. I think David did the right thing after he had done the wrong thing. And I believe in the future you’re going to see better judgment.”
While the Rays sold out Game 3, tickets for Game 4 are still available . . . The national anthem will be sung by Ben Zobrist’s wife, Julianna, a Christian alternative recording artist . . . Since 1995, 22 teams have fallen behind two games to none in the ALDS. Only four have come back to win the series. The last team to do it was the Red Sox in 2003 against Oakland. The Sox also did it in 1999 against Cleveland. The Rays fell behind, 2-0, to Texas in the 2010 ALDS and forced a Game 5, but lost . . . Before the start of the series, Sam Fuld tweeted a photo of his week-old son, William, who was born during the middle of the Rays’ 10-game, 14-day road trip that spanned the end of the season, a one-game playoff, a wild-card game, and the first two ALDS games in Boston. “Happy week old birthday to William!” Fuld tweeted. “(Can’t wait to meet you, I swear I’m a real person)” The Rays got back to Tampa at 1:49 a.m. on Sunday.Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.