ST. PETERSBURG -- In the second inning of the Rays' 3-1 loss to the Astros on Friday night, Tampa Bay ace David Price recorded his 1,000th career strikeout.
"It's cool -- it absolutely is, I can't deny that -- but it stinks," Price said. "You want to win out there."
Price entered the game with 997 strikeouts, and after striking out two Astros in the first inning, he ran a 94-mph fastball over the inside corner past Chris Carter in the second. After the strikeout, the Rays announced the milestone, and the Tropicana Field crowd gave Price an ovation.
Price said he would have enjoyed the moment more if it had been an inning-ending strikeout, so he would have had time to stop and thank the fans, instead of during an inning when he had to focus on the game.
But, he said, "I appreciate everybody that was cheering."
The only other Rays pitcher to hit the 1,000-strikeout mark was James Shields, who struck out his 1,000th batter on Aug. 31, 2011, against the Rangers. It took Shields 180 career appearances and 1,185 innings to reach the mark, but Price got there in his 168th appearance and 1,082nd inning.
"I've been able to see close up the natural progression, the strike-thrower that he's turned into," manager Joe Maddon said. "The development of other pitches on the Major League level, which a lot of guys cannot do. His curveball as an example, his changeup as an example, his cutter, all kind of came to the party a little bit later in regard to their effectiveness, and it's something he's learned here. And that speaks to his athletic abilities, too. So I've witnessed all that."
On Friday, Price lost despite throwing eight strong innings and striking out 12. He allowed just two runs, which came on a George Springer home run in the third.
Price leads the Major Leagues with 133 strikeouts after the 12-strikeout performance. He has struck out double-digit batters in four straight games and seven times this season, which is also tops in the Majors.
"He wasn't good, he was great -- three walks, one intentional, 12 punchouts, great stuff all night long," Maddon said. "He's probably pitching as good as he can."
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.