Rays 7, Angels 0

As long as David Price stays healthy and keeps pitching like an

All-Star, the Tampa Bay Rays are confident they can secure a

wild-card berth – or even overtake the Yankees in the AL East.

Price pitched three-hit ball over seven innings for his

AL-leading 16th victory and Tampa Bay got home runs from Evan

Longoria, B.J. Upton and Ben Zobrist in a 7-0 victory over the Los

Angeles Angels on Thursday night.

Price is 7-0 with a 2.21 ERA in his last nine road starts and

8-0 with a 1.72 ERA in his last 11 starts overall since a 9-1 home

loss to the New York Mets on June 13.

”I feel like I’ve been throwing the ball well,” Price said.

”I’ve gotten a lot of runs early, and that makes my job a lot

easier. I can go out there and attack the zone, make people put the

ball in play and get early outs so I can go deep into games. I’m

not worrying about any individual numbers or anything like that.

I’m just trying to help us every five days to get to the

postseason, and we’ll take it from there.”

Burke Badenhop and Wade Davis each pitched one inning in the

Rays’ third straight shutout against the Angels. The Halos have

gone 32 consecutive innings without scoring against a staff that

leads the AL in ERA, opponents’ batting average and strikeouts.

Price (16-4) struck out eight, walked two and lowered his ERA to

2.39, third in the AL behind the Angels’ Jered Weaver and Detroit’s

Justin Verlander. The left-hander allowed only two runners to third

base, striking out Chris Iannetta to end the fifth inning and

fanning Vernon Wells to escape the seventh.

”My game plan doesn’t change,” Price said. ”I was trying to

attack them the same way I would if it was a 1-0 game or a

zero-zero game, so my game plan doesn’t change no matter how many

runs we score or give up. With that offense they have over there,

all it takes is one bad inning and they’re right back in the


Dan Haren (8-10) threw 61 pitches in 3 1-3 innings and gave up

five runs and seven hits, including Zobrist’s 13th homer and

Upton’s 14th. The three-time All-Star has surrendered 22 homers in

his 22 starts, two more than he gave up last season in 34


Haren has allowed at least one home run in 10 consecutive starts

and 15 total during a streak that began when Colorado hit four

against him on June 9 at Coors Field – all solo shots in Haren’s

11-5 victory. The last time the right-hander didn’t give up a homer

was June 3 against Texas.

”I’m leaving just too many mistakes up in the zone, and that’s

usually what homers come from,” Haren said. ”I’ve been able to

keep them mostly to solo home runs, and those usually won’t kill

you. But the big innings will. I’ll have a couple of good starts,

and then I’ll disappear for a while. So I have to be more

consistent and give the team a better chance to win.”

Tampa Bay, which lost 1-0 at Seattle on Wednesday as Felix

Hernandez pitched a perfect game, had a streak of 34 consecutive

batters retired before Zobrist’s one-out homer in the second.

”You cannot permit yesterday to cause a hangover. I really

don’t believe in that stuff,” manager Joe Maddon said. ”The thing

I love about our group is that we don’t let it both us, and we

shouldn’t. So when David pitches a game like this, he permits you

to get it going offensively. I was really proud of our boys tonight

after yesterday’s difficult game.”

Zobrist drove a 2-2 pitch into the first row of seats above the

18-foot wall in right-center, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia came

out to argue that a fan interfered with the ball. But the ruling by

second base ump Al Porter stood after a video review.

Upton triggered a four-run fourth with a drive into the

left-field bullpen, one of six hits Haren surrendered during the

inning. Jeff Keppinger hit a two-run single and Ryan Roberts made

it 5-0 with a sacrifice fly before Jose Molina chased Haren with a

two-out single. It was the second straight start in which the

three-time All-Star failed to get through the fourth.

Longoria increased the margin to 7-0 in the fifth with his fifth

homer of the season and first in 115 at-bats since coming off the

disabled list on Aug. 7. The Rays are 8-2 since his return after

going 41-44 while he was sidelined with a partially torn left


”Just having him in the lineup is a big factor for us because

that other pitcher know where he’s at – whether he’s on deck or in

the hole. And that helps everybody else,” Price said. ”The guys

that are hitting behind him are going to have more opportunities to

drive in runs, and the guys hitting in front of him and going to

get more good pitches to hit and get him up with runners on


NOTES: The last two times a pitcher threw a perfect game against

the Rays, they responded with an 8-4 stretch following Mark

Buehrle’s in 2009, and an 8-2 stretch following Dallas Braden’s in

2010. … Weaver gets a chance to tie Price again for the league

lead in wins on Friday night when he opposes James Shields. …

Haren’s only other outing against the Rays this season was on July

27, when he beat them 3-1 at Anaheim. … Tampa Bay’s starting

pitchers are 11-2 with a 1.57 ERA over the team’s last 18 games.

… The Rays came in leading the majors leading the AL with a .233

opponents’ batting average, after doing so in each of the previous

two seasons. The last club to accomplish a three-peat in that

department was Detroit (1983-85). … Tampa Bay’s bullpen has a

0.88 ERA over the last 26 games, compared to a 5.90 ERA by the

Angels’ bullpen during that same stretch. … Maddon, who was

Scioscia’s former bench coach in Anaheim, has 559 wins with the

Rays during the regular season – 41 more than the franchise had in

its eight seasons before he got the job in 2006.