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TB@TOR: Price solid in 6 2/3 frames to notch 17th win

Tampa Bay was unable to avoid a sweep at Baltimore with a 3-2 loss, and with a weekend series at New York, things don't look like they'll be getting much easier.

The Rays continue to fight for their postseason lives, trailing both the Orioles and the Yankees by four games in the American League East and the AL Wild Card race.

Tampa Bay will have just who it wants on the mound for the series opener at New York when it sends out lefty David Price against the Yankees.

Price missed his last start because of left shoulder soreness, but he said it has subsided and hasn't heard of any pitch limit for Friday's start.

"[Manager Joe Maddon] has just told me that if I feel anything tomorrow to make sure I come over to him on the bench and let him know," Price said Thursday. "I don't think there's any limitations to what I can do tomorrow. So I'm just looking to go out there and give us a chance to win."

Price's last start came Sept. 2, a win against the Blue Jays. He gave up two runs on six hits and four walks over 6 2/3 innings with five strikeouts in that outing. But when he's been up against the Yankees, he's been almost at his best with a 3.20 ERA in 25 1/3 innings when playing New York this season.

He said the importance of Friday's game isn't lost on him.

"The biggest stage in baseball is in Yankee Stadium, facing their ace CC Sabathia, which I've done many times," Price said. "So, it should be a good game, it should be fun. Hopefully we come out with a win."

The Yankees counter with Sabathia, who has been equally impressive in his starts against the Rays this season. He's 1-1 in four starts with 33 punchouts and a 3.21 ERA in 28 innings of work.

Sabathia's most recent start didn't quite go according to plan, taking loss to the Orioles on Sept. 8. Baltimore tagged him for five runs in 6 1/3 innings on eight hits, while he recorded five strikeouts.

Friday's game also holds big implications for New York, which is aiming for separation from Baltimore in the division standings and hoping to avoid dropping down to the Wild Card race. At the end of the season, the two Wild Card teams play a one-game playoff for a spot in the American League Divisional Series.

Rays: Struggles in one-run games persist
The season started so well for Tampa Bay in close games, earning a 12-4 mark to open up the year. But since then, it's been a struggle for the club, going just 8-22 since May 28.

Tampa Bay has been particularly unlucky as of late, dropping 13 of the last 16 one-run decisions and pushing the club to an AL-worst 26 one-run losses on the season after dropping the last two games in Baltimore by a single run each.

"It has not been good," Maddon said. "We have really been unable to get the necessary hit, and we've had opportunities, the latter part of games and in extra innings against some better relief pitchers, we've had a hard time. That's just being straight up, that's what's happened."

Yankees: Jeter looks to continue hot streak
New York shortstop Derek Jeter was back in the lineup at DH Thursday after having to leave Wednesday's matchup in the eighth inning against the Red Sox because of bone bruise in his left ankle.

The Yankees need his bat in the lineup, as he's gone 18-for-42 in his last nine games. Jeter finished Thursday's game 1-for-5 with one RBI.

Jeter tied Willie Mays for 10th on the all-time hits list at 3,283. That puts him just 31 shy of Eddie Collins in ninth.

• Jeter is batting .292 (14-for-48) all time against Price. He also went 5-for-12 in the Yankees' last series with the Rays.

Worth noting
• Price leads all Major League qualifiers with his 2.54 ERA this season. Fernando Rodney leads all relievers -- with a minimum of 50 appearances -- with his 0.68 ERA.

• The Yankees are 6-9 against the Rays this season but are 4-2 in games at Yankee Stadium. Comments