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Price outpitches Halladay, Rays sweep Jays; Rolen sits on streak

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays offer a simple explanation for their success against Roy Halladay.

Some pretty good pitching of their own.

"In order to beat Roy Halladay, you have to pitch well, period," manager Joe Maddon said Thursday after the AL champions beat the Toronto ace 3-2, their second victory over the five-time All-Star in 11 days.

"There's no secret. You don't beat him up, you don't hit a bunch of homers, you don't get a lot of hits. There's not a lot of things you can do against him," Maddon added. "He only permits so much to happen."

Rookie left-hander David Price pitched six strong innings, and Carlos Pena snapped a fifth-inning tie with a two-run double to help Tampa Bay complete a three-game sweep.

Probably because of Price and Halladay, no home runs were hit at Tropicana Field for the first time this season. It had been the only park in the majors with a homer in each game.

Price (3-3), rebounding from the shortest start of his career, yielded one run and six hits in six innings. The 23-year-old was rocked for six runs in 1 1/3 innings of a loss at Texas last weekend.

The No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft called his outing against the Rangers embarrassing. To get back on track, Maddon urged Price to follow his instincts against the Blue Jays.

"We always talk about pitching to your strength first and not to the hitter's weakness," the manager said. "I just want David to go out there and pitch. Just work his game plan."

Like every team, the Rays compile lots of data on opposing batters and share it with pitchers before games.

Maddon asked pitching coach Jim Hickey to not go over the reports with Price.

"We have so much information, and it's good. It's good to utilize it and we do utilize it," he said. "But there are certain moments when you really want to walk away from it and just permit your instincts" to take over.

Halladay (10-3) pitched for the first time since Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said he's willing to listen to trade offers for the five-time All-Star. He yielded three runs and nine hits in seven innings.

The right-hander responded earlier this week to Ricciardi's comments by saying he wants to keep pitching in Toronto but is willing to consider accepting a trade. He said the situation was not a distraction against the Rays.

"I addressed that once, and that's all I'm going to do until I have to," Halladay said. "It's nothing that I can control, and I'm not going to worry about it."

The game was delayed for 20 minutes in the middle of the seventh when lightning struck a power substation near the ballpark and dimmed lighting inside the stadium, which has a permanent roof.

Toronto's Scott Rolen, who has a career-best 25-game hitting streak, did not play. The Blue Jays normally rest him when they play a day game following a night game.

Grant Balfour bailed the Rays out of a tight spot in the seventh, retiring Kevin Millar and Vernon Wells with the bases loaded to hold on to the 3-2 lead. Dan Wheeler worked the ninth for his first save.

The Rays, who entered the series on a four-game losing streak after being swept at Texas, have won eight in a row at home.

"It's good to come home and look and play like ourselves again," Maddon said.

Halladay has won more games than any pitcher in the major leagues since 2002. The Rays have had his number lately, though, going 5-3 against the two-time 20-game winner over the last two-plus seasons. The only other AL team with a winning record against Halladay during that stretch is Boston (5-4).

"You can only see a guy so many times before you pick up tendencies," Tampa Bay's B.J. Upton said. "That really helped us tonight."

Evan Longoria had a RBI single for Tampa Bay in the first, and Pena's double down the left-field line with the bases loaded broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth. The Blue Jays scored on John McDonald's RBI double off Price in fifth and Adam Lind's bases-loaded single off Randy Choate in the seventh.

Halladay walked none and struck out eight in his third start since returning from a stint on the disabled list with a groin strain. He lost 4-1 to the Rays on June 29 and worked seven innings but was not involved in the decision in Toronto's loss to the New York Yankees on July 4.

Notes

  • Toronto manager Cito Gaston will miss at least the first two games of the team's weekend series in Baltimore to attend funeral services for his sister. Bench coach Brian Butterfield will fill in while Gaston is away.
  • Pena's RBI were his first since June 27, when he homered against Florida. The nine-game drought was his longest of the season.
  • During Rolen's career-high 25-game hit streak, he is hitting .390 (41 of 105). The team record is 28, set by Shawn Green in 1999.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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David Price scatters six hits over six innings, while striking out seven to even his record to 3-3.  (AP)
David Price scatters six hits over six innings, while striking out seven to even his record to 3-3. (AP)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

D. Price
IP 6.0
H 6
ER 1
BB 1
K 7
Toronto

J. McDonald
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Toronto Blue Jays
Jose Bautista, 3B4010110 .263
Aaron Hill, 2B3010102 .298
Adam Lind, LF4021022 .309
Kevin Millar, DH4000016 .234
Vernon Wells, CF4010005 .263
Alex Rios, RF4120011 .262
Lyle Overbay, 1B4000033 .249
Rod Barajas, C4000011 .258
John McDonald, SS4121000 .294
Totals3529229  
Batting
2B - Aaron Hill (15, Price), John McDonald (1, Price)
RBI - Adam Lind (59), John McDonald (2)
2-OUT RBI - John McDonald (1)
SB - Alex Rios (14, 2nd base off Price/Hernandez)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Rod Barajas (7, Throwing)
Toronto Blue Jays
Roy Halladay (L,10-3) 7933080 2.85
Jeremy Accardo 1100130 3.86
Pitches-Strikes - Roy Halladay 119-83, Jeremy Accardo 22-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Roy Halladay 3-10
Batters Faced - Roy Halladay 30, Jeremy Accardo 5
Tampa Bay Rays
B.J. Upton, CF4110021 .241
Carl Crawford, LF4110002 .313
Evan Longoria, 3B4021000 .287
Carlos Pena, 1B4022020 .232
Ben Zobrist, 2B4010024 .288
Pat Burrell, DH3000125 .223
    Gabe Kapler, PR-DH0000000 .257
Gabe Gross, RF4010011 .277
Jason Bartlett, SS4010023 .354
Michel Hernandez, C3110001 .268
Totals343103111  
Batting
2B - Carlos Pena (19, Halladay)
RBI - Evan Longoria (65), Carlos Pena 2 (57)
SB - Carl Crawford (44, 3rd base off Halladay/Barajas), Ben Zobrist (10, 2nd base off Halladay/Barajas)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Longoria-Zobrist-Pena
Tampa Bay Rays
David Price (W,3-3) 6611170 4.70
Joe Nelson (H,7) 0.1211100 4.59
Randy Choate0100000 1.23
Grant Balfour (H,11) 1.2000010 4.39
Dan Wheeler (S,1) 1000010 3.13
HBP - Hill (by David Price)
Pitches-Strikes - David Price 103-65, Joe Nelson 15-11, Randy Choate 4-2, Grant Balfour 28-19, Dan Wheeler 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Price 5-5, Dan Wheeler 1-1
Batters Faced - David Price 25, Joe Nelson 4, Randy Choate 1, Grant Balfour 5, Dan Wheeler 3
Game Information
Attendance - 25749
Game Time - 2:57
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Tim Welke, First Base - Jim Reynolds, Second Base - James Hoye, Third Base - Bill Welke