The left-hander responded with the longest outing of his young career to help the Rays beat the Detroit Tigers 3-1 on Saturday. He lasted 7 1/3 innings and allowed a run and five hits. Price (7-6) struck out four and walked one.
"We needed it. It was big because emotions could have been running high," said Price of his performance after Friday night's deal that sent Kazmir to theLos Angeles Angels for two prospects and a player to be named later.
He also broke a personal skid with his first road win of the season.
"It was good to get David rolling in the right direction," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "We needed to get a win on the road."
The key was Price's fastball command.
"That's where it starts for me. That's my best pitch," he said. "And when I can control that, I get positive results."
Detroit catcher Gerald Laird agreed.
"You can see he's got an electric fastball," he said. "But today it seemed like he just kept us off balance, and he located well."
J.P. Howell pitched the ninth for his 16th save in 23 chances.
"We hit a few balls on the nose, but we didn't do anything," said Detroit manager Jim Leyland.
Price also struck out Miguel Cabrera with a runner on second to end the sixth.
"It seemed like he was dominating the strike zone and being super aggressive," said Rays' first baseman Carlos Pena.
Nate Robertson (1-1) took the loss as he was making his first appearance after coming off the disabled list Friday. He had been sidelined after having left elbow surgery. Robertson allowed two runs and four hits in four innings. He walked one and struck out four in his first start of the season.
"He gave us a shot to win the game," said Leyland.
Gabe Gross' leaping catch at the wall on Granderson's drive with a runner on first and none out in the eighth prevented the Tigers' from tying the game. Gross had pinch hit for starting right fielder Gabe Kapler in the top of the eighth.
Third baseman Evan Longoria made two outstanding plays, including a diving effort to his left on Marcus Thames' grounder in the seventh and shortstop Jason Bartlett also victimized Thames in second with a diving play to his right.
Tampa Bay scored twice runs in the third on Ben Zobrist's RBI groundout and Pena's two-out run-scoring single.
Pena was allowed to bat after the inning was extended when Robertson struck out Pat Burrell with a runner on second and two out, but catcher Gerald Laird couldn't handle the pitch. It allowed Burrell to reach first and Jason Bartlett to go to third. Pena followed with his single.
Carl Crawford added a sacrifice fly in the ninth for the Rays.
Tampa Bay activated 2B Akinori Iwamura from the 60-day disabled list and he was 1-for 2, with two runs scored and a walk. Iwamura missed 81 games while recovering from left knee surgery. He suffered the injury on May 24. ... Robertson had four masses removed from the elbow area of his arm. ... Detroit SS Adam Everett made two errors to match a career high.