Price goes for Rays in opener with O's

Standout southpaw David Price takes the mound for an game series with the Baltimore Orioles.

The Rays return after dropping two of three games in Texas and falling 8 1/2 games off the pace of the New York Yankees in the chase for the American League's wild card berth.

Tampa Bay is nine games behind the Boston Red Sox, who lead the AL East. The Rays would be just a half-game out of the lead in the AL Central behind Detroit and three games in back of the Rangers if they played in the AL West.

The Rays face the Red Sox seven times and the Yankees six in the season's final month, including a three-game home series with New York to close the season from Sept. 26-28.

Price, who turned 26 last week, is 4-1 in seven career starts against the Orioles with a stingy 2.98 earned run average and 40 strikeouts in 45 1/3 innings.

He was 3-1 in his last four starts in August, including a 12-0 rout in Toronto on Aug. 28 in which he tossed seven scoreless innings, allowed three hits and struck out 14 batters.

Price has not allowed more that three runs in a game since Aug. 7 against Oakland, which was also the last team to chase him before seven innings of work.

The Rays, however, are just 4-6 in his last 10 starts.

On Thursday in Texas, Ian Kinsler hit a pair of solo home runs to back C.J. Wilson's quality outing, helping the Rangers defeat Tampa Bay, 7-2, in the finale of a three-game series.

Jeff Niemann (9-6) lost his second decision since returning from the disabled list in late June, as he allowed five runs on six hits in five innings.

Kelly Shoppach homered for the Rays, who have lost three of their last four.

On Thursday in Baltimore, Brett Lawrie went 3-for-5 and hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning, as the Blue Jays snuck past the Orioles, 8-6, in the rubber match of a three-game series.

Vladimir Guerrero went 3-for-4 with a homer, four RBI and two runs scored for the Orioles, who have dropped four of five. Matt Wieters hit a solo homer and drove in two runs.

Tommy Hunter allowed six runs -- five earned -- on nine hits over six innings for Baltimore. Willie Eyre (1-1) gave up Lawrie's homer to take the loss.

Hunter was taken to a nearby hospital following his outing due to an unknown illness. O's manager Buck Showalter said Hunter was vomiting after leaving the game.

Baltimore starts 23-year-old lefty Zach Britton, who's won two straight starts.

The California native had dropped five consecutive decisions before a 4-1 win at Minnesota on Aug. 22, in which he allowed one run on six hits in five innings with four strikeouts.

He followed it up six days later against the Yankees, when he hurled seven scoreless innings of four-hit ball with a walk and five strikeouts while defeating New York, 2-0.

Britton has split two career decisions against the Rays while allowing four runs on seven hits in 11 1/3 innings.

These two clubs have split 12 meetings so far this year, though the Rays have lost five of the six played so far at Tropicana Field.