by Steve Carney
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (620 WDAE) - David Price wished in his last two Spring Training starts that the regular season was here. He didn't disappoint.
The left-hander threw shutout baseball into the eighth inning, and Wil Myers, Evan Longoria, and Matt Joyce each had multi-hit games as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 9-2 on Opening Day at Tropicana Field.
Tampa Bay started with runs in each of the first three innings of the game, as Longoria's RBI single scored Myers, who had doubled off Blue Jays starter R.A. Dickey two batters earlier.
Myers brought in two runs an inning later, delivering a single that scored Desmond Jennings, who had doubled to lead off the inning against Dickey, and Matt Joyce, who drew a walk.
The Rays made it 4-0 in the third, as Longoria drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a groundout by James Loney and took third on a wild pitch before Joyce's sacrifice fly brought him in.
Joyce extended the lead to 6-0 in the fifth, as his two-out, two-run double scored Ben Zobrist and Jennings.
Price lost the shutout in the eighth after allowing a leadoff single to Maicer Izturis and a two-run homer to pinch-hitter Erik Krantz, but the Rays stormed back with three run in the bottom of the inning on an infield chopper by Myers that was thrown away by Toronto to allow both pinch-runner Brandon Guyer and Myers to score. Zobrist then drew a walk, moved to third on a single by Longoria, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Loney to set the score.
Tampa Bay will look to clinch their first series victory of 2014 Tuesday, when Alex Cobb (11-3, 2.76 in 2013) takes on Drew Hutchinson (DNP in 2013). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10, with pregame coverage on WDAE starting at 6:00.