After a strong return from his first career trip to the disabled list, Tampa Bay's David Price hopes he's getting a fresh start to the 2013 season.
Looking to win his fourth straight start against Chicago, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner tries to help the Rays complete their first-ever series sweep of the lowly White Sox on Sunday.
Out since mid-May with a triceps strain, Price (2-4, 4.65 ERA) allowed three hits and struck out 10 without a walk while throwing 70 pitches over seven innings of an 8-0 win at Houston on Tuesday."That's probably the best I've felt on a baseball field maybe in my entire life, honestly," said Price, who went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA in 2012. "I felt like that's the most control I've had of a baseball game in a very long time. I think that was better than I threw the ball really at any point last year.
"It's huge for me, my confidence."
In a way, Price felt his time on the DL proved to be somewhat positive.
"Just letting me regroup with everything," he told the Rays' official website.
"The way the first nine starts went, it makes it kind of tough to sleep at night. "That's not me. I felt like I got back to myself (Tuesday)."
Price's other victory this season came at Chicago on April 28, when he gave up three runs and struck out nine in seven innings of an 8-3 win. He's posted a 2.05 ERA during his three-start winning streak against the White Sox.
After being named to the All-Star team, Tampa Bay's Ben Zobrist had two hits and Luke Scott delivered an RBI double as the Rays (48-40) won their third straight, 3-0 on Saturday. Matt Moore pitched 6 1-3 innings to best Chicago All-Star Chris Sale as the Rays won for the seventh time in eight contests."We're playing great right now," Moore said.
The White Sox, outscored 29-10 during a four-game skid in the series, have dropped 26 of 36.
Zobrist, 1 for 22 in five games prior to Saturday, has gone 7 for 13 in his last three against the White Sox. However, he's 2 for 14 with seven strikeouts against John Danks (2-5, 4.38).
The left-hander snapped a three-game slide Tuesday, allowing two runs in seven innings of a 5-2 win over Baltimore. He's yielded three earned runs in 14 1-3 innings over his last two starts.
"Definitely my last few, I've felt I've had command," Danks told the White Sox's official website. "Just trying not to hurt myself. Trying not to hurt guys, trying to keep the ball in the ballpark."
Including postseason, Danks has gone 6-3 with a 3.92 ERA in 10 starts against the Rays, last facing them in 2011.
White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham is 9 for 18 in July, and is batting .409 in his last 12 games.
He's hit .350 (7 for 20) in his past five at Tropicana Field, but is 1 for 18 against Price.
Batting .406 during a 16-game hitting streak, Tampa Bay's James Loney is likely to be in the lineup after he was used as a late defensive replacement Saturday.
|Alejandro De Aza||3||.333||1||0||0||0||1||.333||.666||.333|
|Chicago White Sox|
|July 03, 2013||Paul Konerko||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|July 02, 2013||Jesse Crain||Day-to-Day||Right shoulder tightness|
|June 30, 2013||Jesse Crain||15-Day DL||Sprained right shoulder|
|June 15, 2013||Alejandro De Aza||Day-to-Day||Illness|
|June 05, 2013||Jake Peavy||15-Day DL||Fractured rib - out 4-6 weeks|
|June 04, 2013||Jake Peavy||Day-to-Day||Left game - Rib pain|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|June 28, 2013||Evan Longoria||Day-to-Day||Plantar fasciitis, left foot|
|June 16, 2013||Alex Cobb||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 05, 2013||Kelly Johnson||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|May 16, 2013||David Price||15-Day DL||Left triceps strain|
|May 16, 2013||David Price||15-Day DL||Left triceps strain|
|May 08, 2013||Brandon Gomes||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- David Price is pitching like an ace again.
Price went the distance to win his second straight start since returning from an injury as the Tampa Bay Rays completed a three-game sweep by beating the Chicago White Sox 3-1 Sunday.
"Anytime something is taken away from you, sometimes it'll make you think differently in a sense," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Never been injured before. Having to watch major league games, knowing that he wants to be out there. There's a lot of things that I think are motivationally speaking that are present during that time. I think that re-motivates you in some way, and he's definitely channeled it properly to this point."
Price (3-4) worked around eight hits, walking none and striking out five. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner spent 47 days on the disabled list with a strained left triceps, then came back and struck out 10 in seven shutout innings against Houston.
"That injury was kind of a blessing in disguise," Price said. "Just letting me kind of regroup, hit the reset button, mindset, everything. I'm right where I need to be right now, and there's still a lot of baseball left."
Price struggled this year before getting hurt, going 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA after going 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA in 2012.
It was Tampa Bay's first complete game this season. The Rays have won eight of nine to move a season-high nine games over .500.
Josh Phegley hit his first major league homer for Chicago, which has lost nine of 11. The White Sox have dropped 19 of their last 23 road games.
It was just the second time that the Rays have swept a series of three or more games against the White Sox. The other time occurred in August 2008.
John Danks (2-6) allowed three runs and five hits over seven innings. The left-hander has lost all five of his road starts this year.
"I feel good about getting us deep in a game and keeping us in the ballgame, but I simply just got outpitched by David, obviously," Danks said. "I just gave him too much of a cushion there, and he was able to be the reigning Cy Young winner."
Desmond Jennings hit a leadoff double in the first and scored on Ben Zobrist 's sacrifice fly to put the Rays up 1-0. Sean Rodriguez made it 2-0 during the fifth with a two-out, broken-bat RBI single.
Phegley got Chicago within 2-1 on a solo shot in the sixth.
"Not bad, I guess," Phegley said of his homer off Price. "One run, a complete game is a pretty impressive start, but I guess I just got one on him. The home run was a cutter in, and it was just kind of low enough where I could to get to it and get in there enough. I put a good ride on it."
Tampa Bay regained a two-run advantage in the seventh when Luke Scott tripled and Jose Molina hit a sacrifice fly.
The White Sox had two singles in first, third and fourth, but failed to score in all three innings by going 0 for 3 with runners in scoring and having one runner thrown out trying to steal second.
Tampa Bay's James Loney went 0 for 3, ending his career-best 16-game hitting streak.
NOTES: Price won for the first time at Tropicana Field since last July 19. ... Chicago manager Robin Ventura tweaked his lineup and had SS Alexei Ramirez hit leadoff for the first time this season. Ventura didn't rule out using Ramirez again in the role. ... The White Sox return home to play a makeup game Monday night against the Cubs before heading to Detroit for the start of a three-game series Tuesday night with the Tigers. ... Tampa Bay opens a four-game home series Monday night against Minnesota.