Rays-White Sox Preview

The Associated Press

David Price capped his AL Cy Young Award-winning 2012 season by defeating the Chicago White Sox, but that remains the Tampa Bay Rays left-hander's last victory.

Price will try to end that drought with another strong performance against the host White Sox in Sunday's series finale in Chicago.

Price became Tampa Bay's first 20-game winner with a 6-2 victory at U.S. Cellular Field on Sept. 30, but he'll likely have a very tough time reaching that mark this season. A combination of lack of run support and subpar pitching has resulted in the left-hander finding himself on the verge of failing to win in April.

Price (0-2, 5.52 ERA) gave up three runs over eight-plus innings against the New York Yankees on Tuesday but suffered a 4-3 defeat.

"If he throws the ball like that and we had scored four runs tonight, he walks away and feels like he was fantastic. But we don't score enough runs and he doesn't feel as good about himself," manager Joe Maddon said. "That's just how this baseball thing works."

The Rays (11-13) have lost in five straight starts by Price for the first time and are the second team to lose in the first five starts by a reigning Cy Young winner. The Minnesota Twins lost in Frank Viola's first seven games in 1989.

Price might have a good chance to end that skid Sunday as he's posted a 1.20 ERA in back-to-back wins over the White Sox (10-12).

Price will also try to help his team earn a four-game split of this series. Tampa Bay ended the White Sox's season-high three-game win streak with a 10-4 victory Saturday.

The Rays had a season-best 19 hits, including four apiece from Evan Longoria and Kelly Johnson. Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist homered, giving Tampa Bay at least one home run in 13 straight games.

That's tied for the second-longest such streak in club history and two shy of the team record set July 25-Aug. 10, 2009.

"Offensively it was a pretty good night up and down," Maddon said. "A lot of guys had great nights. ... It was a really interesting offensive night and hopefully we're going to gain some confidence from it."

Dylan Axelrod (0-1, 3.80) will try to help the White Sox bounce back with another strong start at U.S. Cellular Field. The right-hander is among the major league leaders with a 0.77 home ERA in his two outings there.

Axelrod, who has never started versus Tampa Bay, gave up one run and three hits over six innings against visiting Cleveland on Monday but the White Sox lost 3-2.

"I can't ask myself to do anything else but keep us in it and be ahead coming out of the game,'' he said.

Paul Konerko and Alex Rios will try to continue their success versus Price. Konerko is 9 for 18 against him while Rios is 8 for 16 with five extra-base hits, including a pair of homers.

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