ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — David Price is pitching like an ace again.
Price went the distance to win his second straight start since returning from an injury as the Tampa Bay Rays completed a three-game sweep by beating the Chicago White Sox 3-1 Sunday.
“Anytime something is taken away from you, sometimes it’ll make you think differently in a sense,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “Never been injured before. Having to watch major league games, knowing that he wants to be out there. There’s a lot of things that I think are motivationally speaking that are present during that time. I think that re-motivates you in some way, and he’s definitely channeled it properly to this point.”
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Price (3-4) worked around eight hits, walking none and striking out five. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner spent 47 days on the disabled list with a strained left triceps, then came back and struck out 10 in seven shutout innings against Houston.
“That injury was kind of a blessing in disguise,” Price said. “Just letting me kind of regroup, hit the reset button, mindset, everything. I’m right where I need to be right now, and there’s still a lot of baseball left.”
Price struggled this year before getting hurt, going 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA after going 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA in 2012.
It was Tampa Bay’s first complete game this season. The Rays have won eight of nine to move a season-high nine games over .500.
Josh Phegley hit his first major league homer for Chicago, which has lost nine of 11. The White Sox have dropped 19 of their last 23 road games.
It was just the second time that the Rays have swept a series of three or more games against the White Sox. The other time occurred in August 2008.
John Danks (2-6) allowed three runs and five hits over seven innings. The left-hander has lost all five of his road starts this year.
“I feel good about getting us deep in a game and keeping us in the ballgame, but I simply just got outpitched by David, obviously,” Danks said. “I just gave him too much of a cushion there, and he was able to be the reigning Cy Young winner.”
Desmond Jennings hit a leadoff double in the first and scored on Ben Zobrist’s sacrifice fly to put the Rays up 1-0. Sean Rodriguez made it 2-0 during the fifth with a two-out, broken-bat RBI single.
Phegley got Chicago within 2-1 on a solo shot in the sixth.
“Not bad, I guess,” Phegley said of his homer off Price. “One run, a complete game is a pretty impressive start, but I guess I just got one on him. The home run was a cutter in, and it was just kind of low enough where I could to get to it and get in there enough. I put a good ride on it.”
Tampa Bay regained a two-run advantage in the seventh when Luke Scott tripled and Jose Molina hit a sacrifice fly.
The White Sox had two singles in first, third and fourth, but failed to score in all three innings by going 0 for 3 with runners in scoring and having one runner thrown out trying to steal second.
Tampa Bay’s James Loney went 0 for 3, ending his career-best 16-game hitting streak.
NOTES: Price won for the first time at Tropicana Field since last July 19. … Chicago manager Robin Ventura tweaked his lineup and had SS Alexei Ramirez hit leadoff for the first time this season. Ventura didn’t rule out using Ramirez again in the role. … The White Sox return home to play a makeup game Monday night against the Cubs before heading to Detroit for the start of a three-game series Tuesday night with the Tigers. … Tampa Bay opens a four-game home series Monday night against Minnesota.