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TB@NYY: Price fans six, allows two runs to beat Yanks

Facing one legitimate American League Cy Young Award candidate is difficult enough. The Red Sox will see at least one and as many as two as they face David Price and the Rays -- who also boast Fernando Rodney in the bullpen -- in the teams' series finale on Thursday.

Price, who has a Major League-best 2.54 ERA, is looking to become the Majors' second 19-game winner, while Rodney's 0.66 ERA is best among all relievers that have thrown at least 50 innings.

If the two finish the season with those distinctions, they would be the first teammates to do so since the Twins' Johan Santana and Dennys Reyes in 2006. The 1963 Dodgers' Sandy Koufax and Bob Miller also accomplished the feat.

But Price may be oblivious to the historic company he could join.

"I don't know everybody's numbers," Price said. "I'm not too sure of my numbers. I see them every now and then on the Jumbotron. I don't get on and search stats and stuff like that. There are a lot of guys who are throwing the ball well in the AL, so there are a couple of good candidates, and hopefully I'm one of those guys."

Price will oppose Boston starter Clay Buchholz, whose 4.33 ERA is his highest since his first full season, when he recorded a 6.75 mark in 2008. But he's still managed the second-highest win total of his career with 11 victories.

Buchholz has also almost always experienced success against the Rays, putting together a 2.76 ERA in 12 starts against Tampa Bay since 2008, the third lowest by any pitcher in baseball over that span. He's held the Rays to three runs or fewer in 10 of those 12 starts and thrown five or more innings in all 12.

The right-hander is also coming off a strong start against the Blue Jays on Saturday, when he held Toronto to one earned run on four hits over seven innings but got a no-decision.

It was his eighth quality start in his last 11 outings.

"It feels good," Buchholz said of his recent success. "It's a shame it didn't happen at the beginning of the season when I wanted it to, or expected it to. That's why this game is humbling; you can go out there and feel great and give up six runs, or you cannot have your best stuff and get through seven innings."

Red Sox: Getting more looks at Iglesias
• Mike Aviles was out of Boston's lineup for the fourth straight game on Wednesday as Jose Iglesias started at shortstop and hit ninth. It's not so much a reflection on Aviles as it simply is the Red Sox wanting to see as much of Iglesias as possible.

"It's pretty hard," manager Bobby Valentine said. "Mike really wants to play. I understand that totally. And Iggy has just gotten on a little roll here, so I'd like to see how that roll could continue. It's tough though -- really tough."

• Bench coach Tim Bogar confirmed Wednesday that he interviewed with the Houston Astros about their managerial position. Bogar said the interview lasted two and a half hours, but he didn't add much beyond that.

"I really have nothing to say about it, to be honest with you," he said. "I'm going to respect the process. All I can say is it went pretty well. It was good."

Rays: Maddon deflects blame from Shelton
• Tampa Bay's offense has struggled mightily over the course of 2012, but manager Joe Maddon said hitting coach Derek Shelton doesn't deserve much of the criticism he's received for it. Shelton continues to be under fire from fans and media.

"I don't believe [the offense] is a reflection [of Shelton], I really don't," Maddon said. "I know what he does, I know how he does it. You watch the games being played, and the thing about coaches, it's about how diligent you are and the time you put in -- that you care. You can only give a player so much information.

"I believe when guys are successful consistently, a coach might be able to tweak you a little bit here or there and remind you about something, but what goes on internally is what really controls your success. And so, it's hard to pin that on a coach, and I really believe that."

• Sam Fuld, who hasn't played since Sunday's game against the Yankees, is day to day with a right hamstring strain, said Maddon.

Worth noting
• If Boston wins Thursday, it would clinch its first season series victory against Tampa Bay since winning seven straight from 2001-07.

• With an AL-best 1,256 strikeouts, the Rays' pitching staff ranks fourth for a single season. Comments