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TB@SEA: Price strikes out 12 in complete-game victory

David Price and Matt Shoemaker will take the mound Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium in the final game of the Rays-Angels four-game series.

Price enters the start on a roll.

He recorded his second complete game of the season in his last outing Tuesday against the Mariners, recording 12 strikeouts and no walks. He has posted six complete games since returning from the disabled list July 2, giving him more than any other team during that stretch.

"I'm throwing the ball well and five days ago, very well," Price said.

Price's outing was the fourth time in Rays history that a pitcher had at least 12 strikeouts without issuing a walk. His command has been off the charts.

The ace has 70 strikeouts and six walks this season. He leads the Major Leagues with an 11.67 strikeouts-to-walks ratio. In Major League history, no qualifying pitcher has finished a season with a higher ratio. Bret Saberhagen established the record with an 11.00 ratio in 1994 while pitching for the Mets.

Price doesn't believe there is any secret to his success, which comes to down to "commanding the zone and executing pitches."

"I was ahead, a lot of first-pitch strikes, just commanding the zone, and I did that extremely well in Seattle," Price said. "I've commanded the zone I feel like the entire year, but I had better stuff in Seattle."

Price is 4-3 with a 3.57 ERA in nine career starts against the Angels. He faced them once last season, taking the loss on Sept. 5 at Angel Stadium. He is 3-2 with a 3.78 ERA in five career starts at Angel Stadium and has gone at least seven innings in his last three starts at Anaheim since the 2011 season.

Shoemaker makes his second start in place of Hector Santiago in the Angels' rotation, and the third of his Major League career.

The right-hander is coming off his first Major League victory Tuesday in Philadelphia, where he allowed two earned runs on three hits in five innings. He walked one and struck out three.

Unlike that day, which was the first game of a series, Shoemaker had the benefit of watching Tyler Skaggs, Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson work against the Rays as the Angels won two of the first three games between the clubs. Plus, Shoemaker's been able to talk to his fellow Angels starters in the dugout while the Rays were batting.

"You see the videos and you read the scouting reports," Shoemaker said, "but when you get to see your guys work against a lineup, it's like a live scouting report or a live video.

"You're still going to pitch to your strengths, but you want to collect as much information as you can before going out there."

In facing the Phillies, he said, he relied heavily on feedback "from the guys who had pitched against that lineup before."

In his Major League debut, Shoemaker pitched five shutout innings against Seattle on Sept. 20 in a no-decision while striking out five. He was filling in for Weaver that day, and he joined Weaver as the only Angels pitchers to throw five shutout innings and strike out five in a debut.

Rays: Unfamiliar at the bottom:
After Saturday night's game, the Rays remained in the cellar of the American League East. It's only the second time they've been in last after the season's opening month. Last season, the Rays were at the bottom after the first month of the season. They also were in last from on June 22-23. Thirty-three days later, they were in first place after a 22-5 run.

Angels: Mending Halos
With right fielder Kole Calhoun having started his rehab Friday with two hits for Triple-A Salt Lake, third baseman David Freese beginning his rehab games Saturday and left fielder Josh Hamilton on target to start his at the end of next week, manager Mike Scioscia is looking forward to "getting back to that core group we came out of spring training with. We didn't have them together for long."

Of Hamilton, Scioscia said: "He looks great in BP. I can't wait for him to see live pitching a week from now in rehab games."

Asked if Collin Cowgill's performance in the past month with Calhoun and Hamilton out might mean Hamilton will DH more when he returns, the manager said: "Josh will DH some to keep him fresh and keep his bat in the lineup. Collin Cowgill's been playing great and has earned playing time, no doubt about that."

Worth noting
• Yunel Escobar's solo home run off Jered Weaver in the fifth inning of Friday night's game came on an 0-2 pitch -- the first ever allowed by Weaver in that count and the 165th career home run allowed by Weaver.

• Ryan Hanigan has started four of the Rays' five shutouts this season. Over the last two seasons, he has handled 13 shutouts in only 94 starts. He has caught 14 shutouts dating back to Cincinnati's Homer Bailey's no-hitter Sept. 28, 2012, in Pittsburgh.

• The Angels' Raul Ibanez ranks first in the Major Leagues with 11 RBIs in the eighth inning or later.

• The Angels have pitched considerably better away from Angel Stadium, allowing almost two fewer runs a game while posting a 2.88 road ERA.

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