08/03/08 12:30 AM ET
Price remains pitcher perfect
Former No. 1 pick improves to 10-0 in 14 Minor League starts
By John Torenli / Special to MLB.com
The 22-year-old left-hander struck out a career-high 10 over seven brilliant innings Saturday as the Montgomery Biscuits routed the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx, 10-1, at Riverwalk Stadium for their 10th straight win.
Price (6-0), the top overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, has more than lived up to his billing as a future ace. He improved to 10-0 with a 1.97 ERA in 14 starts between Class A Advanced Vero Beach and Montgomery.
"[Price] doesn't expect to have bad outings," Biscuits catcher Matt Spring told the Montgomery Advertiser. "He said earlier in the year that he expects a perfect game every start and that's the attitude he shows every time. You can't teach his drive on the mound."
The former Vanderbilt University star, who went 11-1 with a 2.63 ERA in 18 games during his final college season, was 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA in the Florida State League before joining the Biscuits in late June. He won his first four starts for Montgomery before a pair of no-decisions but has picked up victories in each of his two two outings.
Price allowed one run on four hits -- three singles and Gregory Halman's solo homer in the sixth -- while striking out the side in the third and fifth. He did not walk a batter and eclipsed his previous best of nine strikeouts on May 28 against St. Lucie.
With the parent club Rays' staff stocked with young, talented hurlers like Scott Kazmir, James Shields, Matt Garza and Andy Sonnanstine, Price may have to keep winning to crack Tampa Bay's rotation.
The Biscuits (25-16) staked Price to a 5-0 lead in the opening frame as Gabriel Martinez and Chris Nowak ripped RBI doubles. Price went to the bullpen to loosen up during the extended inning but didn't mind waiting for his offense.
"You'll take those as much as possible," he told the newspaper. "It doesn't matter if it takes an hour and a half [between innings], you'll still take it."
Martinez went 4-for-5 with two doubles and four RBIs and Rhyne Hughes and Erold Andrus each drove in two runs for the two-time defending Southern League champions, who climbed within 2 1/2 games of first-place Mississippi in the North Division.
West Tenn starter Doug Fister (5-13) surrendered eight runs on 13 hits and three walks with one strikeout in three innings.
Noah Hall singled twice for the Diamond Jaxx (18-25).
John Torenli is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.