St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Yovani Gallardo outdueled Tampa Bay ace David Price, as the Milwaukee Brewers salvaged the finale of a three-game series at Tropicana Field with a 5-0 victory over the Rays on Wednesday.
Price has been the subject of trade rumors with the non-waiver deadline approaching Thursday afternoon. However, Tampa Bay's recent surge has quelled much of the speculation with the All-Star lefty still under contract for next season.
"I know it's been hanging over our heads," said Rays manager Joe Maddon about the trade talk. "Our guys have done a really good job of playing through it."
Tampa Bay lost for just the second time in its last 13 games and fell two games under .500. The Rays haven't been at the .500 mark since they were 10-10 after a game on April 22.
Price (11-8) surrendered four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits over seven innings on Wednesday in his first loss since June 20 against Houston. He had won six straight starts and was trying to become the first Rays pitcher ever to win seven in a row.
Gallardo (6-5) picked up a win for the first time since June 19 at Arizona. He had been 0-1 in six starts since, and on Wednesday yielded just four hits with a walk and five strikeouts over seven scoreless innings. The right-hander also threw 7 2/3 shutout innings in his last outing five days ago against the New York Mets in a no-decision.
Martin Maldonado went 3-for-4 with four runs batted in for Milwaukee, which halted a three-game skid. Aramis Ramirez chipped in a pair of hits, including a run-scoring single.
The Rays squandered a scoring chance in the first inning with runners on the corners and one out, as Evan Longoria bounced into a double play, and the Brewers took advantage of a pair of walks in the second to move in front.
After Ramirez led off the second with a single, Price walked Rickie Weeks and Mark Reynolds to load the bases with one out. Maldonado followed with a single into center to score two runs.
"I didn't make pitches when I needed to in the second inning, walked two guys there," said Price, who added the trade discussion was "the last thing on my mind."
The Brewers picked up one more in the third with the aid of a Tampa Bay miscue. Jonathan Lucroy led off with a single and Ryan Braun followed with a potential double-play ball toward shortstop, but Yunel Escobar was unable to field it cleanly. The error set up Ramirez's RBI single for a 3-0 edge, but the Brewers ran themselves out of a possible big inning when Braun was caught stealing third while Weeks struck out.
Gallardo fanned Ben Zobrist with a runner on third to end the home third, then set the Rays down in order over the next two innings before Maldonado struck again with a two-out RBI double in the sixth for a 4-0 advantage.
The Rays again went quietly in the home sixth before James Loney ended Gallardo's string of 13 straight retired with a two-out single in the seventh. Logan Forsythe followed with a base hit, but Escobar grounded out to end the inning.
"Gallardo was good, he was really good," added Maddon.
Maldonado was at it again in the eighth against Kirby Yates, dropping a single into right-center field to score Khris Davis, who had doubled to start the two-out rally.
Jeremy Jeffress worked around a leadoff single in the bottom of the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez cleaned up a bases-loaded mess in the ninth, striking out Escobar to end the game for his 31st save.
Gallardo earned his 87th career win, surpassing Ben Sheets for sole possession of fifth all-time in Brewers history ... The Brewers had lost each of Gallardo's last six starts ... Price had allowed three runs or less in each of his last nine starts and still hasn't surrendered more than three earned runs in his last 12 outings. The last team to reach him for more than three runs was Miami on June 4 and he hasn't been tagged for more than three earned runs since Boston scored five on May 24 ... Zobrist extended his hit streak to six games with a first-inning single ... Longoria snapped an 0-for-11 skid with a single in the ninth ... The Brewers improved to 3-6 all-time against Tampa Bay ... The Rays have Thursday off before starting a three-game home series against the Angels on Friday ... The Brewers open a three-game set Friday at St. Louis.