The Associated Press
ATLANTA—David Price is emerging as more than Toronto’s ace.
The left-hander is showing he also can be the team’s stopper—the pitcher who can be trusted to halt losing streaks.
Price allowed one run in seven innings, and Russell Martin hit a homer and drove in four runs, as the Blue Jays beat Shelby Miller and the Atlanta Braves 9-1 last night to protect their lead in the AL East.
Price (16-5) gave up six hits and had nine strikeouts as he improved to 7-1 since coming to Toronto in a trade with Detroit in late July.
Four of the seven wins have followed losses; the latest stopped a two-game skid.
Price said he didn’t know so many of his wins had followed losses but he embraced the stopper role.
“I’ll be that guy,” Price said after taking the AL lead with his 2.42 ERA.
The Jays, meanwhile, remained three games ahead of second-place New York in the division.
The Yankees beat the Rays 3-1 last night.
Toronto manager John Gibbons said Price made his strong win look easy—even though he struggled with his location at times.
“He did a nice job picking us up after we lost a couple games,” Gibbons noted.
“That’s what we brought him over for and he’s been great.”
Toronto had 12 hits as it returned to its customary high-scoring pace after managing only a combined two runs in the two straight losses.
Martin hit a two-run double in the four-run first and added a two-run homer off Ryan Kelly in the ninth.
“It’s the best offence in all of baseball,” Price said.
Miller (5-15) gave up five runs (four earned) in just 3 2/3 innings—his shortest start of the season.
“Just kind of didn’t have anything going for me at all, really,” Miller noted.
Miller’s streak of 22 winless starts is the longest for any pitcher in a season he was an all-star.
The right-hander, who has the worst run support in the majors, has 14 losses since his last win back on May 17.
Ben Revere drove in two runs with two hits, including a double in the fifth, for Toronto.
Jays’ first baseman Edwin Encarnacion had three hits and two walks in his return after missing two starts with a sore left middle finger.
The Braves’ run came in the first.
Nick Markakis hit a lead-off double and scored on Freddie Freeman’s sacrifice fly.
Price later walked Bethancourt and pinch-hitter Ryan Lavarnway to open the fifth, but then had help from an unusual double play.
Second baseman Cliff Pennington couldn’t catch a shallow pop fly by Markakis but his throw to Goins forced Lavarnway at second.
Goins then threw to third baseman Josh Donaldson, who tagged Bethancourt when he slid past the bag.
In AL action, Detroit topped Minnesota 7-4 (12 innings), Boston dumped Baltimore 10-1, Cleveland beat Kansas City 5-1, Texas routed Houston 14-3, Chicago pounded Oakland 9-4, and Seattle downed L.A. 3-1.