Price sparkles for BoSox

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — David Price is back in the Red Sox rotation and looking, feeling and — more important — performing like one of the best pitchers in baseball.

The five-time All-Star was dominant in his first start since last July, allowing four singles over seven innings of Boston’s 1-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.

Price (1-0), who spent two stints on the disabled list and finished 2017 in the bullpen, struck out five and walked none to help the defending AL East champions rebound from blowing a four-run lead in losing on opening day.

“It felt good. That’s what I know best,” said Price, who threw 76 pitches. “I had success coming out of the pen, but this is what I want to do.”

Rafael Devers snapped a scoreless tie with a single up the middle that drove in Xander Bogaerts, who doubled off Chaz Roe (0-1) leading off the seventh inning to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.

A night after scoring six eighth-inning runs to rally from a 4-0 deficit and win the season opener, the Rays only managed to get one runner as far as second base.

Matt Barnes pitched a scoreless eighth for the Red Sox, who won for the first time under manager Alex Cora. Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth to finish the combined four-hitter.

“It’s great. A lot of good vibes,” Cora said.


NATIONALS 2, REDS 0: Max Scherzer struck out 10 in six innings and Washington, in its first game with Dave Martinez as a major league manager, beat Cincinnati to begin defense of its NL East title.

YANKEES 4, BLUE JAYS 2: Masahiro Tanaka pitched six sharp innings and New York beat Toronto without any pop from its sluggers.

Giancarlo Stanton, who homered twice and doubled a day earlier in the opener, went 0 for 4. So did big hitters Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Yet the Yankees, under new manager Aaron Boone, improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2011.

RANGERS 5, ASTROS 1: Doug Fister mostly silenced the powerful Houston lineup for five innings in his Texas debut, Nomar Mazara homered for an early lead and the Rangers beat the Astros.