"Earlier this week, newly-acquired Tigers starter David Price said he would not truly feel like he fit in with is new team until he could contribute on the field.
"Until then, Price sat on the bench and cheered, and watched his teammates exchange animated handshakes (with only one for himself in the making). But only after he finally made a start would the newness of it all expire.
"On Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, Price was what the Tigers could have hoped for, pitching into the ninth inning, striking out double-digit batters and picking up right where he left off with the Rays. Alex Avila launched a solo home run in the 12th inning to cap the 4-3 win at Yankee Stadium, ensuring a celebratory Tigers clubhouse after Price's debut.
"'I feel a lot better about everything right now,' Price said. 'Helping these guys win a game, it feels good.'
"The Tigers traded for Price hours before Thursday's non-waiver Trade Deadline to build one of the most formidable rotations in the Majors, one that includes the past three American League Cy Young Award winners. Tuesday was the first time Price had made a start for a team other than the Rays, for whom he pitched for seven seasons.
"'It definitely felt a little bit weird wearing the Tigers uniform for the first time out there on the field,' he said. 'But it feels good that it's over.'
"It helped for Price to be matched up against a familiar opponent like his now-former division rivals. Although Price joked that he's not sure if familiar is the right word to describe these Yankees when earlier in the season he was pitching against a lineup that included Yangervis Solarte and Alfonso Soriano.
"The Yankees tagged Price for two solo home runs Tuesday, one in the second by Brian McCann and one in the fifth inning by Martin Prado, along with an RBI double by Jacoby Ellsbury in the third. New York had eight hits in total off Price but managed just three runs, while Price punched out 10 in 8 2/3 innings.
"'I didn't expect as many changeups from him tonight,' Yankees third baseman Chase Headley said. 'That was probably his most effective pitch. For me, that's what made him effective.'"
"'It's similar to 1998 in Houston, when we got Randy Johnson,' Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. 'It's a similar infusion of energy.'
"Welcome to baseball's best starting rotation. In the end, it's that simple. See you in October. The Tigers are the first team in history to have the last three Cy Young award winners in their league. To be able to line up Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander and Price together creates all kinds of expectations.
"And some fun, too.
"On Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium, Ausmus handed the ball to Price for the first time since he was acquired from the Rays at last Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
"'He really looked exactly like he did in Tampa, except for the Tigers uniform on,' Ausmus said. 'He was calm. He was methodical. He got outs.'
"Price said he was helped by pitching against the Yankees, a team he'd started against 23 other times in his career. This was his third start at Yankee Stadium this season. The Yankees have changed since his last game, but at least the surroundings were similar...
"...There'll be other small milestones for Price as he settles into life with his new team. One of those is a scheduled start against his new team later this month.
"In the end, though, when Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski pulled off the trade, it was an eye toward playing deep into October."