Last month, Tampa Bay went to Texas and was swept in a three-game series by the Rangers. Seven weeks later, the Rays are on the verge of returning the favor.
The surging Rays look to complete a sweep of this key series with the Rangers on Sunday at Tropicana Field.
The Rays, winners of six of seven, are three games behind wild-card leader Boston and one back of the second-place Rangers (68-54), who’ve lost four of five.
Tampa Bay has scored 10 runs in the first two games of this set, much better production after being outscored 20-7 while getting swept at Texas from July 3-5. The Rays last swept a series with the Rangers from May 15-17, 2007.
Pena, who entered this series 0 for 8 against Texas this season, is 4 for 7 with three home runs and five RBIs in the last two games. He has three of his 16 career multihomer games this season, and eight of his 34 home runs over his last 14 games.
“Carlos swung at strikes and didn’t miss them,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said.
The right-hander is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts against Tampa Bay. He earned that victory after giving up two runs and three hits in six innings of a 5-2 win over the Rays on July 5.
In his most recent start, Feldman allowed five runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings, but didn’t receive a decision in a 9-6 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday.
“When you take the ball as often as he does, that’s what will happen to you,” manager Ron Washington told the Rangers’ official Web site of Feldman, who couldn’t hold a 4-0 lead.
Price lasted 1 1-3 innings, allowing six runs and walking five to take the loss in a 12-4 defeat at Texas on July 4.
The left-hander, however, is 6-1 with a 2.82 ERA in eight home starts. He gave up two runs in five innings in a 5-4 win over Baltimore on Tuesday to tie a club record by winning his fifth straight start at Tropicana Field.
“I wish I could’ve commanded the zone a little bit better, but that’s baseball,” Price told the Rays’ official Web site.
Byrd has 13 RBIs in his last 13 games for the Rangers, who’ve scored seven runs and have 13 hits in the series after recording 17 hits in an 11-1 win over Minnesota on Thursday.