David Price became the Rays first 20 game winner by delivering another super quality start going 7 innings allowing only 2R/ER on 5 hits while striking out 4 and walking 2 in leading the Rays past the White Sox 6-2. The Rays followed a familiar path in improving their record to 88-71. David Price guided the team through the first seven innings and then Joe Maddon turned to Joel Peralta in the 8th and Fernando Rodney to close it out in the 9th.
With the victory Price submits a record of 20-5, an AL leading ERA of 2.56, 211 innings pitched, and 205 strikeouts to the writers as they consider who to cast their vote for the AL Cy Young award. Although it would be more advantageous to the Rays bottom line if another pitcher would win the award I'd have to cast my ballot for Price.
Its not often that the Rays winning can feel as frustrating as it has the past few games.The positive vibe of Price's 20th win and the Rays victory was somewhat dampened by the results shown on the out of town scoreboard which displayed the Orioles defeat the Boston Red Sox 6-3 and the Los Angeles Angels come back and defeat the Texas Rangers 5-4 in the first game of their doubleheader. The Rays slim playoff hopes will increase by a small margin if the Seattle Mariners are able to defeat the Oakland A's this afternoon.
There was another side story developing other than Price's quest for win number 20 and the Rays playoff hopes and that was the continued pursuit of a 30/30 season by B.J. Upton. The notion that Upton, who at the All-Star break had hit only 7 home runs was going to be a candidate for 30/30 was laughable. With his 2 homers on Sunday afternoon Upton, who already has 31 stolen bases, has now connected on 28 for the season. One thing Upton's solid second half has done other than increase his value on the open market is guarantee that the Rays will receive draft compensation for him next June. For the record,
The Rays jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Desmond Jennings triple and B.J. Upton followed up with a 2-run homer.
The lead was extended to 3-0 in the top of the 4th inning as Ryan Roberts connected on his 11th homer of the season (5 with Rays).
The White Sox cut the Rays lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth. With 1-out Alex Rios singled in Kevin Youkilis from 3rd and Paul Konerko advanced to 3rd. After Price hit A.J. Pierzynski with a pitch Dayan Viciedo scored Konerko from 3rd on a sacrifice fly.
The Rays came right back to regain a 3-run lead at 5-2 in the top of the 5th. B.J. Upton doubled to lead off the inning and after a Ben Zobrist walk Evan Longoria smoked a double into the corner in left scoring Upton from second and advancing Zobrist to 3rd. After Jeff Keppinger grounded out to the drawn in infield Ben Francisco delivered a sacrifice fly scoring Zobrist from 3rd.
The Rays added an insurance run to extend the lead to 6-2 on B.J.Upton's 2nd homer of the day leading off the 9th inning.