video thumbnail

TEX@TB: Price collects eight strikeouts

ST. PETERSBURG -- David Price was on his game Wednesday, but Tampa Bay's offense wasn't.

The Rangers earned a 3-0 victory behind a stellar pitching performance from Colby Lewis to beat the Rays and clinch the three-game series at Tropicana Field. It was just the second time that Tampa Bay has been shut out this season.

"Lewis was good," manager Joe Maddon said. "I can't take anything away from him. He was really good. He elevated his fastball and threw his breaking ball for strikes. He mixed things up well and was very unpredictable."

Lewis threw eight scoreless innings to grab his fifth win of the season. He is now 4-2 with a 2.03 ERA in his last seven starts.

"[Lewis] had everything going." right fielder Matt Joyce said. "He was tough. He was locating his fastball, he was locating his offspeed stuff, changed speeds, and pretty much put it where he wanted, when he wanted."

Many of the Rays had not seen the right-hander before, and it showed. Johnny Damon and Casey Kotchman -- who was not in the lineup -- were the only two players who had faced Lewis before Wednesday.

Tampa Bay's offense managed just four hits off him, never giving Price much of a chance.

Despite allowing one run through the first seven innings, Price didn't get the opportunity to pitch with a lead as he turned in his second consecutive impressive start, allowing three runs in eight innings.

"I thought it was a pretty good battle of two pretty good pitchers, but we withstood it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We were able to scratch a run in the eighth inning there. We were able to play our type of game and make some things happen."

Price first ran into trouble in the fifth. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre started the inning with a double over center fielder B.J. Upton's head, and the next batter, Nelson Cruz, drove him in with a single.

Following Cruz's RBI, Price settled back down to retire the next 11 hitters.

But with little support from his offense, Price gave up two more runs in the eighth. Elvis Andrus brought in a pair of insurance runs with a single past first baseman Sean Rodriguez.

"Anytime you go up against a No. 1 ... [Price] was throwing great today," Lewis said. "He just got tired in the eighth and got some pitches up, but he was doing his job and I just was able to match it."

Price pitched into at least the eighth inning for the fifth time this season on Wednesday, the most on the Rays' staff.

"I threw the ball fine; it just wasn't good enough," the lefty said.

In four of Price's five losses, the Rays have failed to score more than three runs.

"Part of that is [Price] is facing a good starter on the other side," Maddon said. "He may [feel the pressure to be perfect], but I also believe he is up for the challenge."

Price's battery mate didn't help his cause. The Rangers stole four bases in a span of four pitches against catcher John Jaso. It marked the first time Tampa Bay has allowed four stolen bases in one inning.

On a positive note, Damon found a way to reach base safely for the 27th consecutive game with a single in the second inning.

With the loss, the Rays finished 3-3 on the homestead. Next up for Tampa Bay is an 11-game road trip beginning in Seattle on Thursday.

"Right now, we are still [within striking distance of first place in the division] after all this drama," Maddon said. "So I'm OK with that." Comments