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Friday, Sep 22, 2017
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Price wins 20th game as Rays keep rolling

CHICAGO - David Price was rather subdued late Sunday afternoon for a guy who just won his 20th game of the season, but the Rays left-hander is chasing more victories this fall. He would like to win the American League Cy Young Award. He would like to be the winning pitcher this October in a postseason game in which he started. The Cy Young hinges on votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members, some of whom will lean toward Detroit's Justin Verlander. The postseason victory is a bit trickier, since the Rays' playoff chances are one notch above eliminated.
The Rays beat the slumping White Sox 6-2 for their 10th win in 11 games, yet their playoff chances took a big hit when the Yankees, Orioles and A's each won. Wins by the Yankees and Orioles eliminated the Rays from the American League East division title and from finishing first in the wild-card standings. Oakland's win leaves the Rays three games behind the A's with three to play. The Rays have to sweep the Orioles in the three-game series that begins tonight at Tropicana Field and hope the Rangers do the same against the A's this week in Oakland. Should that happen, the Rays and A's will meet Thursday in Oakland in a one-game playoff to determine who plays the wild-card winner Friday. "Weirder things happened last year," Price said. "So we're going to go in (tonight) and look to win (tonight) and take it from there." True, but the Orioles are still playing for the division title. "We can only control us," said B.J. Upton, who backed Price with two more home runs. "We've just got to win and hopefully (the A's) have a few hiccups and we can get in, but all we can do is try to win." Price became the franchise's first 20-game winner after holding the White Sox to two runs on five hits in seven innings. He called his 20 wins a team accomplishment. "That's what they've done for me all year, every five days," he said. "It's been very special." When asked if he felt as if he turned in a Cy Young-worthy year, Price said, "100 percent." Manager Joe Maddon agreed. "I would hope so," he said. "I thought that even before the game began. Of course he had to pitch well, and he did. That's 20 wins and he did it in a very, very consistent manner. He's pretty much been the same guy every time out. Maybe one little hiccup, missed one start that's it. But otherwise he's kind of nailed it down from the beginning to the end." Upton gave Price a quick 2-0 first-inning lead when he followed a leadoff triple by Desmond Jennings with his 27th home run of the season. No. 28 came in the ninth and took away a save situation for Fernando Rodney, who nevertheless pitched a perfect frame. Price said he was glad for the early two-run cushion. Upton said that was the plan. "Absolutely. I think we all had it in our minds," Upton said. "We knew what he was going for and it would be good to get off to a fast start." Price also could finish as the major-league leader in ERA. His stands at 2.56 after Sunday's win. "The 20 wins, he should have like 25 wins," Maddon said. "Basically he's pitched well enough to have in the mid-20s based on our lack of scoring runs sometimes. I think the ERA is highly impressive pitching in this division, this league, the DH, all of the above, it really matters. To be able to accomplish that here is an accomplishment." Price's historic day allowed the Rays to remain in the playoff race, even though their chances are remote at best. "It's always about maintaining a slight mathematical chance," Maddon said. "We were in the same boat last year. … Regardless, I still believe we can do this because there still is that mathematical opportunity."   OTHER 20-GAME WINNERS Jered Weaver Los Angeles Angels 20-4, 2.73 ERA Gio Gonzalez Washington Nationals 21-8, 2.89 ERA R.A. Dickey New York Mets 20-6, 2.69 ERA
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