Rays rely on Hernandez against Twins

Skidding veteran Roberto Hernandez will try to join in Tampa Bay's recent starting pitching success on Monday night when the Rays host the Minnesota Twins to begin a four-game series at Tropicana Field.

The Rays have gotten sterling efforts from starting pitchers in each of their last three games - all wins - including a complete game from reigning Cy Young Award winner David Price to close out a series sweep of the Chicago White Sox with a 3-1 win on Sunday.

After striking out 10 over seven scoreless innings in his return from the disabled list Tuesday in Houston, Price (3-4) scattered eight hits and walked none in an economical 98-pitch effort that enabled the Rays to notch their first three-game sweep of the White Sox since Aug. 1-3, 2008.

His only blemish came when Josh Phegley hit his first career major league homer in the top of the sixth.

"I felt good," Price said. "I felt better five days ago. My fastball location was still there. If I can have command of that pitch, I feel like I can be successful at this level."

Price followed up Matt Moore's 6 1/3 scoreless innings in Saturday's 3-0 triumph over Chicago, which managed just one run through seven frames against Jeremy Hellickson in Friday's opener of the set.

Sean Rodriguez contributed an RBI single and Luke Scott went 2-for-3 with a run scored for Tampa Bay, which has now won four in a row and eight of its last nine overall.

Hernandez, on the other hand, hasn't win in four starts since June 11, when he tossed seven innings of three-run ball in an 8-3 defeat of the Boston Red Sox.

He's pitched twice at home and twice on the road since, losing all four decisions while allowing 15 runs on 28 hits in 26 2/3 innings against Kansas City, the New York Yankees, Toronto and Houston.

The Rays have been outscored in those games, 18-6.

Hernandez is 5-9 in 21 career meetings with Minnesota with a 5.05 earned run average.

The Twins start journeyman Samuel Deduno, who'll face the Rays for the first time in his 30th big-league appearance.

A 30-year-old as of last week, Deduno was signed by the Colorado Rockies as an amateur free agent in 2003, but languished in the minors in five cities through 2009.

He split 2010 between Single-A Tri-City, Triple-A Colorado Springs and in the majors with the Rockies, with whom he debuted and appeared in four games as a relief pitcher.

He was selected by the Padres off waivers in January 2011 and pitched in two big-league games that year before he was signed by the Twins as a free agent in November 2011.

Deduno was 6-5 in 15 starts with Minnesota last season and has won four of seven decisions through eight starts this year, most recently in a 7-3 loss to the New York Yankees on July 2.

On Sunday in Toronto, Rajai Davis finished 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and scored three times, as the Blue Jays clobbered Minnesota, 11-5, in the rubber match of a three-game set.

Trevor Plouffe and Aaron Hicks each hit a two-run shot for the Twins, who have dropped seven of eight.

Scott Diamond (5-8) was charged in defeat with eight hits and six runs with four walks over 4 2/3 frames.

The Rays won five of six games with the Twins in 2012 and have won the season series in each of the last three years. The teams split evenly in 2008 and 2009, and Minnesota hasn't won a season series with Tampa Bay since 2006.