In their return to the regular season, the two pitchers will try to deliver a fourth straight series victory for their respective clubs in Sunday’s finale of an emotional three-game set.
The 24-year-old Price (12-4, 2.42 ERA), a former No. 1 overall draft pick, earned his first starting nod in the annual mid-summer showcase and didn’t allow a run over two innings. Pettitte (11-2, 2.70) followed with another scoreless frame, but the AL team lost 3-1—its first defeat to the NL in 14 years.
In his first game since that milestone appearance, Price will attempt to become his league’s first 13-game winner. The left-hander is currently tied atop the AL victory list with the Pettitte’s teammate CC Sabathia(notes).
The 38-year-old Pettitte, who hasn’t pitched since July 8, will attempt to move into a tie with those pitchers with his fourth straight win. He’s also 6-1 over his last nine outings but gave up a season-high seven runs over five innings in an 8-6 home loss to Tampa Bay on May 20.
“If someone would have said Andy would be 11-2 at the break, it would be hard to anticipate that,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It would be hard to anticipate that for any pitcher.”
The left-hander is 16-6 with a 4.08 ERA in 29 lifetime starts against the Rays but 3-5 with a 5.34 ERA in the past 10. He’s also 2-3 with a 5.20 ERA in the last six home matchups.
Price, meanwhile, has a 2.39 ERA in four career starts against the Yankees and has won the past two, including a 9-3 victory April 9 at home. He allowed three runs over 7 2-3 innings in that game while striking out seven.
Price will try to help the second-place Rays (55-35) to their 12th win in 15 tries and hand the Yankees (57-33), who lead the AL East by two games, their fourth loss in 14 games this month.
The series opened with a 5-4 win for New York following tributes to owner George Steinbrenner and longtime public address announcer Bob Sheppard, who both passed away earlier this week.
Steinbrenner’s funeral took place in Tampa Bay on Saturday as the Rays prevailed 10-5 behind Reid Brignac’s(notes) two home runs. The struggling Carlos Pena(notes) also raised his average to .210 with a season-high four hits, including his 19th homer, and drove in three runs.
“I’m not surprised that we bounced back,” manager Joe Maddon told the team’s website. “We’ve grown in that regard. It was big that our offense showed up. That’s what has really been inconsistent for us this year.”
The Yankees have lost three of four at home to the Rays after previously winning six straight there.