Orioles-Rays Preview

The Associated Press

Based on his recent success against the Baltimore Orioles, David Price has a good chance to become the majors' first 15-game winner.

Undefeated since the middle of June, the Tampa Bay Rays left-hander can achieve that feat Sunday in St. Petersburg with a third straight winning start over the Orioles.

Price (14-4, 2.64 ERA) is 6-0 with a 2.08 ERA in eight starts since losing at home to the New York Mets on June 13, pitching at least seven innings in each of those outings. He's 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA in four starts at Tropicana Field in that stretch.

He will try a second time for his 15th win after allowing three runs and striking out 11 in seven innings of a 4-3, 15-inning loss at Oakland on Monday.

"It stinks any time you lose a game," Price said.

Price appears to be in good position to earn that victory Sunday after giving up one run and striking out 15 over 14 1-3 innings to win his first two outings against the Orioles in 2012, improving to 6-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 11 career starts in the series.

He allowed four hits in 7 1-3 innings of a 5-0 home win June 1, then yielded a run and struck out 10 over seven innings of a 10-1 win at Baltimore on July 25.

"He's good, period," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.

Scheduled Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez (3-2, 4.46) allowed a season-high seven runs and hit three batters in 2 2-3 innings against Price and Rays last month. The rookie right-hander was able to rebound from that start by winning Monday at Yankee Stadium, where he gave up four runs and three homers but struck out a season-best eight in 6 2-3 innings of a 5-4 victory.

Though Gonzalez has allowed nine home runs while posting a 5.34 ERA during his first five major league starts since entering the rotation last month, he's 3-2 in those outings.

"I think he's given us pretty good outings consistently," Showalter said.

He hopes for another Sunday as Baltimore (56-51) tries to cap a 4-2 road trip with a second straight victory. Wei-Yin Chen allowed five hits over seven innings and Nate McLouth had two hits in his Orioles debut in a 4-0 win Saturday.

After the Orioles went 0 for 22 with runners in scoring position while losing their previous two contests - including Friday's 2-0 series-opening defeat - All-Star catcher Matt Wieters delivered an RBI single in the first inning Saturday.

"It's nice to be able to get a hit and RBI, especially when runs can be at a premium," said Wieters, who is 8 for 23 in his last six games after going 1 for 30 with 15 strikeouts in his previous eight.

Signed to a minor league contract as a free agent in June, McLouth hit .244 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs in 47 games for Triple-A Norfolk before being called up Saturday. The outfielder was 8 for 57 (.140) in 34 games with Pittsburgh earlier this season.

Teammate Nick Markakis, who had an RBI Saturday, has batted .412 (14 for 34) in his last eight road games.

Ben Zobrist had two of the six hits for the Rays (56-51), who had a three-game winning streak snapped. He's 7 for 17 (.412) in five home games against the Orioles this season.

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