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Monday, Jun 18, 2018
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Tampa Bay Rays

Price handles White Sox as Rays sweep series

ST. PETERSBURG - Defending American League Cy Young winner David Price said the injury that kept him out of baseball for 47 days was a blessing in disguise.

It allowed him to regroup and "hit the reset button."

Against the struggling Chicago White Sox on Sunday, the restored lefty went the distance, scattering eight hits with five strikeouts and no walks to lead the Rays to a 3-1 victory in front of 16,832 fans at Tropicana Field.

It was Price's first win at home since last July and the first complete game by a Rays pitcher since Oct. 2, 2012.

The victory, which gave the Rays only their second sweep against the White Sox in franchise history, extended the team's winning streak to four games heading into a four-game home series against the Minnesota Twins.

Price (3-4) made his return to the ballclub on Tuesday against Houston, where he pitched seven scoreless innings with a season-high 10 strikeouts.

"I felt good," Price said. "I felt better five days ago. My fastball was still there. If I can have command of that pitch, I feel like I can be successful at this level. Whenever I have that good fastball action, my other pitches don't have to be as sharp."

On Sunday, his one mistake was a solo home run by Josh Phegley in the sixth inning.

"When you have that kind of stuff and you put yourself in favorable counts, it really makes it tough on hitters to narrow you down," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "With the last two games he's pitched since he's come back, his pitch efficiency and strike throwing ability has really been impressive, to say the least."

Of the 98 pitches Price threw Sunday, 72 were strikes. He became only the third player in team history to throw a nine-inning complete game with less than 100 pitches. The Rays are 4-1 this season when Price pitches at least seven innings and 0-6 when he doesn't.

"He was good, he was hitting his spots, " said Rays catcher Jose Molina, who helped Price by driving in a run and throwing out two runners attempting to steal. "Just the only mistake he made, the guy made him pay for it. Overall, he was good. Anytime a guy has a complete game, you have to throw good."

The Rays gave Price enough support throughout, as Desmond Jennings, Yunel Escobar and Luke Scott each scored runs against White Sox pitcher John Danks. Jennings doubled to lead off the first inning and scored on a sac fly by Ben Zobrist.

"Getting that run in the first makes my job a lot easier to just go out there and make pitches," Price said. "Even though it's just one run, you have the lead."

Escobar scored on a broken-bat single from Sean Rodriguez in the fifth, and Molina drove in Scott, who led off with a triple, on a sac fly in the seventh.

Maddon contemplated replacing Price with Fernando Rodney in the ninth, but Price kept on and struck out two of the three batters in the final inning.

"Obviously, you want to be that guy, you want to be able to go out there and get those results," Price said.

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