David Price has picked an awful time to match the longest losing streak of his career. The American League's reigning Cy Young Award winner tries to find the win column and keep the Tampa Bay Rays in the postseason hunt on Sunday when they close out a three-game set with the Minnesota Twins at Target Field.
Price lost his third straight start on Tuesday to Boston, despite a solid outing that saw him give up just two runs and three hits and strike out nine without allowing a walk in eight innings. Still, he fell to 8-8 to go along with a 3.45 ERA.
"Dave was outstanding," Tampa manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought he was great. He could not have done anything more."
Price is 2-2 in six starts (5 earned) with a 2.62 ERA against the Twins.
Minnesota will hand the ball to lefty Pedro Hernandez, who is 3-1 with a 5.25 ERA. Hernandez did not get a decision on Monday against the Los Angeles Angels, as he allowed three runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Tampa Bay moved into a tie with Texas atop the AL wild card standings on Saturday, as Desmond Jennings scorched a pair of run- scoring doubles, while six Rays pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout in a 7-0 rout.
Yunel Escobar and Sean Rodriguez each registered an RBI and two runs scored, while Evan Longoria and Jose Lobaton added an RBI apiece for the Rays, who have won three straight games.
Matt Moore made the start for Tampa Bay and fanned five over three scoreless innings of work before a 2-hour, 11-minute rain delay in the middle of the fourth inning prevented the left-hander from returning to the game.
Brandon Gomes (1-1) picked up the win after spinning a perfect fourth in relief of Moore.
"I thought Gomes really came in and put some structure to the game, because he was throwing strikes," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Pedro Florimon collected one of Minnesota's four hits, as the Twins were blanked for the second straight night to extend their losing streak to four games.
Andrew Albers (2-3) was tagged for four runs on six hits over four frames to absorb the loss.
"I felt like I made a couple of good pitches, and they found holes," Albers said.
Minnesota has lost all six games it has played with the Rays this season. In fact, Tampa is 23-7 in the series since the start of the 2010 campaign.