07/14/10 12:33 AM ET
All-Star memories will linger for Rays
Price, Longoria shine early; Soriano works scoreless eighth
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
"It was fun. I was out there sweating," Price, 24, said."I couldn't really feel anything. My hands were just drenched, my glove felt like it was going to fly off. It was nerve-wracking."
The Rays' starter shined for two innings against the National League, retiring the first four batters he faced before Mets third baseman David Wright smashed a single that Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano could not handle in the second inning.
Three pitches later, Milwaukee's Ryan Braun grounded into a 5-4-3 double play and just like that, Price was out of the inning.
He was also out of the game. Yankees left-hander Andy Pettitte started the third inning, but by then, Price had already left his mark. Sixteen of Price's pitches were strikes and he struck out Philadelphia's Ryan Howard on five pitches for his only strikeout of the game. Price's last pitch to Howard was clocked at 98 mph.
In all, six of Price's pitches were clocked at 99 mph and eight were clocked at 98 mph. He hit 100 mph on the radar gun in his final pitch to Florida's Hanley Ramirez in the game's first at-bat.
"If he only has to go 10 to 15 pitches, he has 100 [mph] in the tank for sure," said All-Star teammate Evan Longoria. "He fulfilled the starter role very well."
It was also an afternoon to remember for Longoria, outfielder Carl Crawford and reliever Rafael Soriano.
With one out in the second inning, Longoria drove a 3-1 pitch from Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez into left field for a double in his first at-bat of the game. Jimenez recovered to retire the next two batters and strand Longoria on the basepaths.
But in at least in one way, Longoria had already come home. The third baseman, who is hitting .300 with 13 home runs and 61 RBIs for the season, is from nearby Downey, Calif., and played in front of family and friends.
"It's an honor to be an All-Star at any point but this one is special to me because I grew up down the street," Longoria said. "So it's great to be back representing the American League and the Rays as an All-Star. It doesn't get any better than this."
In the fifth inning, Longoria walked on six pitches and motored to third base on an errant throw to first base by Dodgers pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo. Longoria later scored the American League's lone run on a sacrifice to left field by Cano to put the AL up 1-0.
Baltimore's Ty Wigginton replaced Longoria to start the seventh.
As for Crawford, he lined out to third base in his first at-bat and reached base on a fielder's choice in his second and final turn. He has the type of speed that thrills crowds -- he has six triples and 31 stolen bases in 39 attempts this season -- and had the chance to show off his skills when he stole second base later in the fifth.
Will Crawford get another opportunity to play in Southern California next year? Who knows? The outfielder is a free agent at the end of the season and there is some talk that Anaheim would be a perfect fit.
Crawford is not so sure. He said players on opposing teams have gone out of their way this week to share the benefits of their home stadiums and home cities with him.
"We've joked around about it but that's what we do," Crawford said. "It's all fun, but when it comes down to it, I have to decide what's best for me."
Crawford laughed when he was asked what he really thought about Angel Stadium and being recruited by Angels center fielder Torii Hunter.
"The field is nice, the weather is nice, but it's the big leagues, all the stadiums are nice," Crawford said with a smile.
Soriano, who has converted 23 saves in 24 chances this year, also did his part. The reliever retired all three batters he faced in the eighth inning.
"I'm just enjoying this experience because it's one of the best of my career," Soriano said. "I've come a long way to get here and there's really no way to describe it. My family is here with me and they are having just as much fun as I am. This has never happened to me and it's what I've wanted since I was a little boy."
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.