KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All through the post-season, Blue Jays left-hander David Price remained confident that he would deliver on the big stage.
He was hoping that elusive first career playoff win as a starter would come Friday night at Kansas City. Price came up short again and now his time with Toronto may be over.
Price delivered a solid performance and kept the Blue Jays in the game at Kauffman Stadium. However, early solo homers by Ben Zobrist and Mike Moustakas put him in an early hole and Kansas City went on to beat Toronto 4-3 to win the American League Championship Series in six games.
Over 6 2/3 innings, Price — who's set to become a free agent — gave up three earned runs, five hits, and a walk while striking out eight.
"Whenever your season is over, it's always a tough pill to swallow," Price said. "But the Royals — that's a very good baseball team. You move forward and get ready for next year."
Where the 30-year-old left-hander will be next year is up in the air. After the game, he was asked directly whether he planned to return to Toronto.
"I don't know yet," he replied.
Would he be open to it?
Price put two runners on in the third inning before getting Eric Hosmer to ground out to end the frame. He settled into a nice groove after that before he was replaced by Aaron Sanchez in the seventh.
Price, who has a career record of 104-56 in the regular season, is 2-7 in the playoffs. Both of his victories came in a relief role.
"I was throwing the ball, at times, well in the playoffs," he said. "I threw it OK tonight. I knew I didn't get a win ... and we didn't win but what happens in October does not define who I am."
The Blue Jays sent prospect Daniel Norris and two other left-handers to the Detroit Tigers at the trade deadline to land Price. He excelled down the stretch for Toronto, posting a 9-1 mark and sparkling 2.30 earned-run average.
Overall he was 18-5 on the year with a 2.45 ERA, putting him in the Cy Young Award conversation. But he had limited success once the regular season ended.
Price gave up five earned runs over seven innings in his lone start in the division series against Texas. He absorbed the loss in a 5-3 defeat and came back in a relief role later in the series, picking up a win in an 8-4 victory despite allowing three earned runs over three innings.
Price looked very strong in his first start of the ALCS before one rough inning derailed his effort. He was tagged with the loss in a 6-3 defeat after giving up five earned runs over 6 2/3 innings.
"He did great," said Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista. "During the regular season and in the playoffs, he gave us a chance to win ball games and that's what he does. Of course I want him back."
Despite his October hiccups, Price is expected to command a very lucrative long-term deal in the off-season. Whether Toronto will be in the mix for his services is unclear.
"We played tremendous baseball," Price said. "We had a lot of fun doing it and that's what you want to be a part of. We played well and we won some very big games with our backs against the wall and that shows our character."
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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press