Price battles Dickey in meeting of Cy Young winners

Thursday's finale between the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays features the first matchup between reigning Cy Young Award winners since 1999.

You wouldn't know that was the case, though, by looking at their 2013 stats.

Either way, David Price tries to help the Tampa Bay Rays earn a split in the finale of their four-game series against R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays at Tropicana Field.

"I don't know what his record is or anything like that, but I know he can pitch better than how he's been pitching and so can I," Price said. "We're both going out there looking to get the ball rolling again and it should be fun."

Price has been miserable for the Rays in the early going following his spectacular 20-win campaign in 2011. Price fell to 1-3 on Saturday in Colorado, as he was roughed up for a career-high nine runs and 11 hits in just 6 2/3 innings to balloon his ERA to 6.25.

"I felt fine," Price said. "I just have to make better pitches, especially in those big spots. That's not what I'm doing right now. It's frustrating."

Price, though, could get himself righted on Thursday, as he owns a terrific 12-2 lifetime mark against the Jays with a 2.29 ERA in 15 starts.

Dickey, meanwhile, has been equally bad in his first year in Toronto. Dickey won the NL Cy Young Award last season after his remarkable 20-win season for the New York Mets, but this year he is just 2-5 with a 5.36 ERA.

"Neither one of us are probably where we want to be at this part of the year," Dickey said. "I think he would say the same thing, but it's special anytime the reigning Cy Young Award winners face each other."

Dickey lost his third straight start on Saturday, as the Seattle Mariners hammered him for seven runs and six hits in just six innings before being booed off the mound.

"I did hear them, it was hard not to," said Dickey. "They were pretty animated. You can't blame them."

Thursday's matchup between the reigning Cy Young winners is the first since Atlanta's Tom Glavine faced Roger Clemens of the New York Yankees on July 15, 1999. The only other such occurrence was Aug. 28, 1989, when Frank Viola of the New York Mets opposed Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After losing the first two games of this set, Tampa broke through on Wednesday, as Evan Longoria homered and drove in three runs and Kelly Johnson went 3-for-4 with a two-run blast in a 10-4 win.

Matt Moore (6-0) didn't have his best stuff, allowing two runs on six hits and four walks over five innings, but it was enough to stay undefeated as the Rays backed him with 13 hits.

Luke Scott and James Loney each added a pair of RBI, while Ben Zobrist reached base four times, scored three runs and knocked in another for the victors.

"It's been kind of difficult lately," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "The two losses in Kansas City were not fun, even the loss in Denver was not fun, and the two losses here. None of them have been fun. I believe we came to play every day after those tough losses. I don't think we mailed anything in after those tough losses, and that's what I really appreciate about this group."

Toronto had its three-game win streak stopped, but the club received good news earlier Wednesday when it was announced J.A. Happ was "doing well" after being released from the hospital. Happ was carried off the field on a stretcher Tuesday when he was struck by a line drive and sustained a head contusion.

The Blue Jays actually jumped out to an early lead on Edwin Encarnacion's two- run homer to straightaway center in the first, but the embattled Ricky Romero (0-2) recorded just one out in the bottom half before getting the quick hook.

"I'm a competitor, I work hard and I put so much effort, so much work into everything that I've done and I don't see it as a step back, but obviously the statistics don't show that. But you hold your head high and continue to work," Romero said.

Tampa dominated its season series with the Jays a year ago, taking 14 of the 18 matchups.