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Thursday, July 25, 2013

David Price Throws Tampa Bay's Second Gem In 3 Days

There are plenty of reasons for Red Sox fans to fear the Rays: they are fearless, overachievers, energized, they always seem to have great chemistry and Joe Maddon is an outstanding manager. Perhaps foremost on that list is Matt Moore and David Price. When they're right, neither Boston nor almost any other team in the AL has the arms to match them. Coming two nights after Moore blanked the Red Sox (3-0), Price (5-5) almost matched it as he threw a 5-hitter in Tampa Bay's (60-42 overall, 26-23 away) 5-1 win vs. Boston (61-42 overall, 34-19 home).

The win for the Rays guaranteed at least a split in this pivotal series and more importantly, they can vault into first place in the AL East with a victory tomorrow night. Price's only mistake was a solo homer by Mike Napoli (his 14th of the season) over the Monster in the seventh. Other than that, he struck out four and didn't walk anyone in 97 economical pitches. It was his eighth career complete game and second against the Red Sox for the reigning AL Cy Young winner.

Felix Doubront (7-4) took the loss although it was the 13th straight start that he has allowed three runs or less meaning that he has really come into his own now. In 6.2 innings, he allowed three earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts and two walks. On most nights with the way Boston scores runs, that's more than enough.

Wil Myers (2 hits, walk, stolen base) had a two-run single in the third and Luke Scott drove in Ben Zobrist (2 hits, stolen base) for a 3-0 lead. The Rays tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth on RBI singles by James Loney (2 hits) and Jose Molina. Tampa Bay had 11 hits and scored five runs without the use of an extra base hit which is impressive.

Napoli also had a double and Shane Victorino contributed two singles so that pair of guys accounted for 80% (4/5) of Boston's hits.

John Lackey (7-7, 2.95 ERA) faces Jeremy Hellickson (9-3, 4.62 ERA) tomorrow (7:10, NESN) which favors the Red Sox given Lackey's top-notch performance this season.

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