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Rays hand Price ball in finale with O's

(SportsNetwork.com) - Long-time staff ace David Price will try to avoid a home series sweep for the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night, when the Baltimore Orioles visit Tropicana Field for the finale of a three-game set.

The former Vanderbilt University star is 7-2 in 16 career starts against the Orioles while compiling a solid 2.70 earned run average.

In the last eight of those 16 games, he's 3-0 with an even better 2.29 ERA, and in his last four starts against Baltimore at the Trop, Price is 1-0 with a stingy 1.37 ERA.

He went the nine-inning route in his most recent home start on April 22 and scored a 7-3 win against Minnesota, but was subsequently ripped for nine hits in six-plus innings of a 9-2 road loss to the Chicago White Sox five days later. In his most recent start, on Friday at Yankee Stadium, he allowed two runs in seven innings of a game the Rays ultimately won, 10-5, in 14 innings.

Price is opposed by Baltimore righty Ubaldo Jimenez, who was winless in his first five starts of 2014 before breaking through for a victory in his last outing on Friday.

In that game, at Minnesota, he struck out 10 batters and gave up just three hits in 7 1/3 innings while scoring a 3-0 triumph.

"He's such an engaging likable young man, but don't ever underestimate the drive and the want that he has," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

He's 3-1 in four starts with a 2.73 ERA against the Rays, and, most recently, beat them, 5-0, after allowing four hits and striking out seven in eight innings last season. In his lone career start at Tropicana Field in 2012, however, he allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings of a 6-0 loss.

On Wednesday, Adam Jones homered twice and the Orioles took the middle game, 4-3.

Jones got things started for the O's with a pair of solo home runs, and Jonathan Schoop provided the eventual game-winner with a two-run shot.

Bud Norris yielded just two runs on three hits over 5 2/3 frames for Baltimore.

David DeJesus homered for Tampa Bay.

The Orioles lost 13 of 19 against the Rays a season ago, going 3-7 on the road, but have won all four meetings this season.