It's been nearly 14 years since the previous season's Cy Young Award winners have started against each other, though they've hardly resembled the same pitchers this season.
R.A. Dickey will try to avoid losing a fourth straight start and lead the Toronto Blue Jays to a series win over the Tampa Bay Rays as he opposes the struggling David Price on Thursday night at Tropicana Field.
"Neither one of us are probably where we want to be at this part of the year," Dickey said. "I think he would say the same thing, but it's special anytime the reigning Cy Young Award winners face each other."
It hasn't happened since Atlanta's Tom Glavine faced Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees on July 15, 1999. The only other such occurrence was Aug. 28, 1989, when Frank Viola of the New York Mets opposed Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers .
Both Dickey and Price won 20 games last season but have combined to go 3-8 with a 5.81 ERA this year.
Traded to Toronto (13-22) in December, Dickey (2-5, 5.36 ERA) is hoping to regain the form that helped him win the NL Cy Young Award with the Mets in 2012. The right-hander enters at risk of suffering his worst losing streak since early in the 2011 season.
Dickey lost his third consecutive start and was booed off the mound by the home crowd Saturday after allowing seven runs and a season-high three home runs in six innings of an 8-1 loss to Seattle.
"I did hear them, it was hard not to," said Dickey, who was pitching on an extra day of rest because of lingering neck and back soreness. "They were pretty animated. You can't blame them."
The knuckleballer outpitched Price in his last start against the Rays, allowing only an infield single as he went the distance in a 9-1 victory at Tropicana Field on June 13. That win saw Dickey run his scoreless innings streak to 32 2-3 to break the Mets' record.
Price was tagged for seven runs and nine hits that night in one of his worst efforts of his AL Cy Young Award season, but he's already had a few performances like that in 2013.
The worst came Saturday as he gave up a career-high nine earned runs and 11 hits in 6 2-3 innings of a 9-3 loss at Colorado.
The Rays (15-18) have dropped six of his first seven starts. Price (1-3, 6.25) has allowed a .302 batting average and eight home runs after limiting opponents to .226 and 16 homers last season.
"He's just been such a dominant pitcher over the years it's definitely weird to see that he's struggling so much," outfielder Matt Joyce said. "I think for him, once he gets that confidence or feeling that he needs or is looking for, he's going to take off."
Price is 11-2 with a 1.83 ERA in his past 13 starts against the Blue Jays, though he's lost the last two at home.
Jose Bautista is 11 for 31 (.355) with four homers against Price but enters this matchup homerless in 10 games since April 17. Melky Cabrera is 4 for 9 off Price and has been on a tear, going 10 for 18 with four RBIs over the last four games.
Bautista went hitless Wednesday as the Blue Jays had a season-high three-game winning streak snapped with a 10-4 loss. Toronto, which came from behind to beat the Rays on Monday and Tuesday, is looking to win a series at Tropicana Field for the first time since winning two of three April 6-8, 2007.
Evan Longoria is 6 for 12 with two homers and seven RBIs in this series and batting .500 with 13 RBIs in his last seven versus Toronto.
Kelly Johnson , 3 for 4 with a homer on Wednesday, is 15 for 35 with 12 RBIs over his last nine games.
|Toronto Blue Jays|
|May 08, 2013||J.A. Happ||15-Day DL||Head contusion|
|April 29, 2013||Josh Johnson||15-Day DL||Right triceps inflammation|
|April 22, 2013||Maicer Izturis||Day-to-Day||Sore hamstring|
|April 14, 2013||Sergio Santos||15-Day DL||Right triceps strain|
|April 13, 2013||Jose Reyes||60-Day DL||Sprained left ankle|
|April 12, 2013||Jose Reyes||Day-to-Day||Sprained left ankle|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|May 04, 2013||Yunel Escobar||Day-to-Day||Left hand contusion|
|April 27, 2013||Jose Molina||Day-to-Day||Knee|
|April 25, 2013||Yunel Escobar||Day-to-Day||Hamstring|
|March 31, 2013||Juan Carlos Oviedo||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 28, 2013||Jeff Niemann||60-Day DL||Right shoulder surgery - out for season|
|March 24, 2013||Luke Scott||15-Day DL||Strained right calf|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- A rare matchup of reigning Cy Young Award winners won't be remembered as a pitching duel.
Tampa Bay's David Price and Toronto's R.A. Dickey both pitched well enough to win but weren't involved in the decision Thursday night when the Rays beat the Blue Jays 5-4 on a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the 10th inning.
Luke Scott fell behind 0-2 in the count before patiently waiting out Brad Lincoln . The Rays loaded the bases on Evan Longoria 's double off Aaron Loup (1-3) and two walks.
"In that case, a walk is as good as a hit," Scott said.
"It's fantastic he was able to hold up right there," manager Joe Maddon said of the designated hitter's discipline. "You really don't want to open it up right there. You want to make him throw strikes."
The Price-Dickey matchup marked just the third time since the Cy Young has been awarded in both leagues that reigning winners have faced each other the following season.
In the other matchups, Atlanta's Tom Glavine beat the Roger Clemens and the New York Yankees 6-2 on July 15, 1999 and the Mets' Frank Viola defeated the Dodgers' Orel Hershiser 1-0 on Aug. 28, 1989.
Clemens won the AL Cy Young with Toronto in 1998 and was acquired by the Yankees before the 1999 season. Viola won his award with Minnesota in 1988, then moved from the Twins to the Mets at the trade deadline the following summer.
Dickey allowed three runs and five hits, walked five and struck out five in six innings for the Blue Jays. He left with a 4-3 lead that Steve Delabar relinquished by giving up a solo homer to the first batter the reliever faced, ex-Blue Jay Yunel Escobar leading off the seventh.
Price worked eight innings for Tampa Bay, yielding four runs (two earned) and seven hits in eight innings. Scott singled to right field with the potential go-ahead run on second base with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, but Longoria was thrown out trying to score.
The Rays ace said he didn't give much thought to the historical significance of reigning Cy Young winners facing each other.
"If this was the National League or something like that where I had to face him or had to pitch against him, then it's a little bit different," the 2012 AL winner said. "But we were probably the only two people on the field that really don't have too much to do with each other. You know you have to come out there with good stuff, especially whenever you're facing somebody like R.A., somebody else's ace. It was a good game."
Jose Bautista drove in two runs with a double and sacrifice fly for Toronto. His throw to the plate from right field prevented the Rays from taking the lead in the eighth.
Kyle Farnsworth (2-0) pitched one inning to get the win.
Dickey won a career-best games with the Mets last season and was traded to Toronto in December. Price edged Justin Verlander in balloting for the 2012 AL Cy Young after becoming Tampa Bay's first 20-game winner.
Neither pitcher has been nearly as effective this year. They entered Thursday night with a combined three victories between them, and the Rays had lost six of the previous seven games that Price started. Dickey has not won since beating the Chicago White Sox at home on April 18, dropping his last three decisions.
The Blue Jays have lost two straight after winning the first two games of a four-game series at Tropicana Field.
"It's just sad because you pour your heart and soul into the game and it doesn't always end up in a win," Dickey said. "We're playing hard. We're not maybe playing the smartest baseball, but we're playing hard. ... We'll figure it out."
Longoria doubled and Joyce singled to drive in runs to give Price a quick 2-0 lead in the first. The Blue Jays answered with Brett Lawrie 's RBI single in the second, as well as Bautista's RBI double and Edwin Encarnacion 's run-scoring single in the third for a 3-2 lead Dickey was unable to hold through the bottom half of the inning.
Ben Zobrist lined a triple over the head of centerfielder Colby Rasmus , then scored on passed ball to make it 3-3.
Notes: Price's ERA dropped by a run - from 6.25 to 5.24 - without the left-hander throwing a pitch earlier Thursday. An official scoring change from his last start took away five earned runs from a 9-3 loss at Colorado. A seventh-inning, two-out infield single credited to the Rockies' Michael Cuddyer was changed to an error on shortstop Ben Zobrist . The play initially was scored an error had been changed to an infield hit after the game. ... The Blue Jays optioned LHP Ricky Romero to Triple-A Buffalo, designated RHP Edgar Gonzalez for assignment, and purchased the contracts of RHP Mickey Storey and RHP Ramon Ortiz from Buffalo. ... LHP J.A. Happ will not throw for a week because of the sprained knee he suffered after getting hit in the head by a line drive Tuesday night. Happ, whose skull was fractured in the incident, will probably pitch a game or two in a rehab assignment before returning to the Toronto rotation. ... Blue Jays RHP Brandon Morrow , originally scheduled to pitch Friday at Boston, had his start pushed back to Sunday after experiencing back spasms and a stiff neck in a bullpen session.