CHICAGO - David Price, who was winless in his first five starts for the Tampa Bay Rays this season, finally got a victory on Sunday in what turned out to be an 8-3 win that split a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox (10-14).
Price (1-2) had already thrown 105 pitches after six innings, but the game was still tied 3-3, and he would've received another no-decision if Rays manager Joe Maddon had gone to his bullpen in the seventh.
Instead, he let his ace go after the win - and it turned out to be a good decision.
After Conor Gillaspie led off the seventh with a single for Chicago, Price got Tyler Flowers to line into a double play and then retired ninth hitter Dewayne Wise on a ball hit softly back to the mound. His teammates did the rest by scoring three times in the eighth on two hits, two walks and an error by Alex Rios on Ryan Roberts' shallow fly
to right field with the bases loaded and two outs.
Tampa Bay had already taken the lead 4-3 in the top of the eighth on Ben Zobrist's single that scored Sean Rodriguez, but getting the insurance runs - including two more in the ninth - paved the way for Price to get his first win this season.
The 2012 American League Cy Young winner struck out nine, allowed six hits and yielded three runs in his seven innings, but settled into a groove after Paul Konerko put Chicago up 3-1 with a two-run blast in the third. Following the long home run, Price retired nine in a row - five by strikeout - and allowed just two more hitters to reach base on a walk and Gillaspie's single.
Jose Lobaton and Matt Joyce hit home runs for the Rays (12-13), who dropped the first two games of this series before winning the last two. Zobrist went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, while Joyce went 1-for-3 and scored three times in addition to hitting his fourth homer of the season.
The Rays bullpen didn't allow a run in two innings, with Fernando Rodney picking up his fourth save.
Dylan Axelrod started for the White Sox and took a no decision after going six innings and leaving with the game tied 3-3 heading into the seventh. He gave up three runs on the home runs by Lobatron in the third - a solo shot - and Joyce's long ball that drove in Desmond Jennings in the sixth, which pulled the Rays even.
Chicago took a 1-0 lead on a pair of singles and a stolen base in the first inning. After Rios singled and swiped second, Adam Dunn drove him in with a two-out single to center field. Following Lobaton's homer to right that tied it 1-1, the White Sox went back on top after Konerko's homer.
Coming into the game, Konerko was 9-for-18 with a home run in his career against Price. After walking in his first at bat, Konerko came up with Alejandro De Aza on base. He ran the count to 3-2 and drilled a curveball from Price over the fence in left field.
Joyce's homer, hit down the right field line off Axelrod, tied it back up 3-3 in the top of the sixth - after Jennings hit a ground-rule double to lead off the inning
NOTES: The White Sox placed pitcher Gavin Floyd on the 15-day disabled list with a strained flexor muscle in his right elbow and called up right-hander Deunte Heath from Triple-A Charlotte, who will work out of the bullpen. Hector Santiago, a left-hander who'd been working out of the
bullpen, will enter the starting rotation in Floyd's spot. ... John Danks (offseason shoulder surgery) was back in Chicago to find out where he'll be sent on a pending minor league rehab assignment, the next step in his journey back to the White Sox starting rotation. ... Konerko's two-run homer in the third was his 426th and tied him for 45th all-time with Billy Williams. ... Chicago now has six players on the DL with the addition of Floyd, but manager Robin Ventura isn't about to use it as an excuse. "You have to (overcome it)," Ventura said. "There's nothing else (you can do). You'd like to have 'em back, but you just keep going. It can always be worse. In any situation, it can always be worse." ... Lobaton's solo home run in the third extended the Rays' streak of games with at least one home run to 14 straight games, which is one short of the club record. ... Saturday night's 10-4 win featured 19 hits by the Rays, who raised their team batting average by 11 percentage points, from .229 to .240 heading into Sunday's game. They also stranded 14 runners in that game. ... Rays Shortstop Yunel Escobar missed his fourth straight game because of tightness in his hamstring, but might return Tuesday in Kansas City.