Tampa Bay (46-32) at Minnesota (43-36)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 12° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Fri Jul 2, 2010
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The Tampa Bay Rays hope an extra-inning win against the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins means they are finally putting a dismal June behind them.

With David Price(notes) going to the mound, they have to feel good about their chances of continuing to build on that trend.

Price will try for his AL-leading 12th win as he and the Rays continue a four-game series against the Twins on Friday.

Tampa Bay (46-32) went 11-14 in June, but closed the month with a 9-4 win over division rival Boston on Wednesday and then opened July with a 5-4, 10-inning victory over Minnesota (43-36) on Thursday for back-to-back wins for the first time since a three-game winning streak June 6-9.

After Evan Longoria(notes) hit a run-scoring double in the ninth to plate Carl Crawford(notes) with the tying run, Willie Aybar drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th.

Crawford has two four-hit games in his last three starts, healthy again after being held out of the lineup last week for three straight games because of a sore left shoulder.

“Just wanted to try to get back to grinding out the games and playing hard all the way to the end,” Crawford said.

With the victory, the Rays remained two games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees and moved within one-half game of Boston for second.

Price (11-3, 2.44 ERA) will try to continue the club’s improved play as he goes for his fifth win in six starts.

The left-hander posted a 2.18 ERA in June while going 4-1. He gave up two runs and struck out a season-high 11 over eight innings of a 5-3 win over Arizona on Saturday.

“That’s what he’s capable of doing. That’s what he’s going to look like as he matures and understands himself and what he’s doing,” manager Joe Maddon told the Rays’ official website. “You’re going to see a lot more of that from him.”

Price has made one start and one relief appearance against the Twins. Last season, he gave up one run and struck out 11 in 5 2-3 innings of a 5-2 win.

Minnesota, which dropped to 25-15 in its inaugural season at Target Field, leads Detroit by one game in the AL Central.

The Twins now hope Scott Baker(notes) (6-7, 3.97) can end his recent funk as he takes the ball. The right-hander will try to avoid a third straight loss after allowing season highs of six runs and 11 hits - including three home runs - in 4 1-3 innings of a 6-0 loss to the Mets on Sunday. He has dropped three of four.

Baker gave up eight home runs over 29 2-3 innings in June, putting up a 6.07 ERA in five outings.

“Obviously I know it’s in there,” Baker told the Twins’ official website. “Just have to keep after it. Not much more you can do other than start making better pitches.”

Baker is 1-2 with a 5.30 ERA in four appearances against the Rays - three starts.

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Starting Pitchers

D. Price BOS vs. S. Baker LAD
19-6 Record 12-9
2.72 ERA 4.49
188 K 148
79 BB 43
1.19 WHIP 1.34


Friday, Jul 2