Detroit — Some might say David Price got beat by his third or fourth best pitch in the ninth inning Tuesday.
Price isn't among them.
"I made some pretty good pitches," said Price, who lost a 3-0 lead in the top of the ninth inning. "Those guys are professional players as well. They put good swings on pitcher's pitches. Those things happen. You tip your cap to them."
Let's back up. Price, coming off a rough outing at Minnesota (five runs in 5.2 innings), was as good as he's been in a Tigers' uniform through eight innings. He was painting corners with a 92 mph fastball and keeping the White Sox off balance by mixing in a diving slider, a curve ball and his change-up.
He had allowed just three hits and was at 95 pitches entering the ninth. It was a no-brainer for manager Brad Ausmus to let him try to finish the game.
"Not only did I feel he should be strong, he looked like he was strong," Ausmus said. "It was his game at that point."
Adam Eaton led off by reaching out on a two-strike change-up and rolling it up the middle for a single. Alexei Ramirez followed with a ringing double, sending Eaton to third.
At that point closer Joe Nathan began to warm in the bullpen, but Ausmus didn't stir out of the dugout.
Price struck out the dangerous Jose Abreu, his eighth strikeout of the game, but former Tiger Avisail Garcia poked a two-run single, again on a change-up.
At that point Ausmus came out to talk to Price.
"I went out there thinking I was going to leave him in unless he told me he was running out of gas," Ausmus said. "And it didn't look like he had. He said he was fine. So I thought it was his game."
The fans booed Ausmus when he came out of the dugout, and they cheered him when he walked back without pulling Price. The conversation on the mound was almost a carbon copy of the one Ausmus made with Price in the eighth inning of a start in August against Seattle.
Price looked him in the eye and said he was fine, he wanted to finish what he started.
"Yeah, it might've been the same, word for word," Price said. "I didn't lie. I felt good. Just nothing good happened."
Price got Dayan Viciedo to fly to right for the second out.
But Paul Konerko, longtime Tiger killer in what could be his last at-bat against the Tigers since he's retiring at the end of the season, dropped another two-strike off-speed pitch into shallow center for a single, moving Garcia to third.
That brought up Marcus Semien, whom Price had struck out twice previously. Again Price got ahead with fastballs only to have Semien reach out and drop an off-speed pitch into right center field to tie the game.
Still, Price was not kicking himself over the pitch selection.
"They were change-ups," Price said. "That's what good hitters do. Those guys are pros, as well. Whenever you get into the ninth inning, it was those guys' fourth time seeing me. I just need to come with better pitches."
Ausmus didn't second-guess his decision to stay with Price, either.
"I thought his velocity was the same as it had been all game," Ausmus said. "His fastball was at 92. I didn't think he'd lost much stuff at all."
Nathan came on after Semien's hit and after walking pinch-hitter Conor Gillaspie, he got Carlos Sanchez to fly out.
"I wanted to finish the game," Price said. "I gave up those two runs, but so be it. I just couldn't give up that third one. I felt like I made a good pitch to Semien, but he got it."
The Tigers hitters rose up in the bottom of the ninth, rescuing the win on a walk-off single by Miguel Cabrera — which was good enough to wipe any bad taste out of Price's mouth.
"It's over," he said when asked if that ninth inning would bother him for a while. "It's done. I don't harp on the past. I don't buy into that stuff. I will come here in the morning, get my work in and be ready whenever it's my turn to pitch again."
Chris McCosky on Twitter @cmccosky