David Price tries to become the majors' first 16-game winner this evening when the Tampa Bay Rays open a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium.
Price should get a little more support tonight from a Rays lineup that was on the wrong end of Felix Hernandez's perfect game on Wednesday. Tampa, which lost, 1-0, became the first team in major league history to have three perfect games thrown against it.
"The one thing I've learned is that no-hitters and perfect games don't mean anything about tomorrow, anyway," said Tampa manager Joe Maddon, whose team has now lost consecutive games following a seven-game winning streak.
Jeremy Hellickson (7-8) absorbed the hard-luck loss after allowing one run on five hits over seven frames. He struck out one and walked one.
Despite the loss, the Rays held an opponent to three runs or less for the 12th time in their last 14 games.
"Everybody's been taking that ball every fifth day and throwing it really well," said Price. "It's been a lot of fun to watch, and I'm very eager to come to the ballpark every day to watch one of our guys throw."
Price gets his chance tonight. He has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, going 15-4 with a 2.50 ERA and won his seventh straight decision on Saturday in Minnesota, as he gave up two runs and seven hits and struck out five without walking a batter.
The 26-year-old left-hander tossed a five-hit shutout the last time he faced the Angels and is 3-2 in seven starts against them with a 3.48 ERA.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, will counter with righty Dan Haren, who is 8-9 with a 4.68 ERA. Haren was hit hard in a loss to Seattle on Saturday, as he surrendered seven runs (5 earned) and five hits with three walks in only 3 1/3 innings.
Haren beat the Rays back on July 27 and is 7-3 lifetime against them with a 2.60 ERA in 12 starts.
Anaheim pounded Cleveland on Wednesday, as Ervin Santana pitched seven strong innings and Mike Trout hit two homers to propel the Angels past the Indians, 8-4.
"I was able to keep the ball down tonight," Santana said. "I always think positive. I might not have the good results, but I know I'm a good pitcher. It's good to get all the offense we've had the last couple of nights."
Vernon Wells and Chris Iannetta each knocked in two runs for the Angels, who took the final two contests of the three-game series. Kendrys Morales had three hits and scored twice.
Tampa is 5-1 against the Angels this season and has won eight of the last nine matchups in the series.