ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - David Price's unbeaten streak against Toronto is over.
Price yielded Jose Bautista's 32nd homer and the Tampa Bay Rays managed just three hits against Ricky Romero and Jon Rauch in a 3-1 loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
``That's a tough team, especially when Ricky's pitching,' Price said. ``I've got to pitch better.'
Price (9-10) gave up three runs and five hits in 6 2-3 innings, falling to 8-1 with a 2.19 ERA in 10 career starts against Toronto.
``It's fun pitching against him,' Romero said. ``We're good friends. We have talked about it. It was definitely fun going out there to battle against him and I'm happy we came out in front.'
Desmond Jennings led off the sixth with a drive to right for Tampa Bay's first hit off Romero (9-9), who struck out seven and walked four over eight innings. Rauch allowed two-out singles to Casey Kotchman and B.J. Upton before retiring Matt Joyce on a fly to left on a 3-0 pitch for his 10th save.
``In that moment right there I liked it a lot,' Maddon said of letting Joyce swing away. ``I liked it a lot, actually.'
Tampa Bay also loaded the bases in the second on two walks and a hit batter, but Romero struck out Joyce and Kelly Shoppach before getting an inning-ending grounder from Sean Rodriguez.
The Rays have loaded the bases 11 times this season with no outs, and failed to score a run in six of those opportunities.
``To get the bases loaded early ... that's a great chance for us to get on top,' Maddon said. ``Romero, if you don't get him early, and he gets out of a couple of jams, or a jam, he normally sets in, which he did again. We have to do better. Bases loaded, we've been bad at that play and we've got to get better.'
Tampa Bay was one-hit by Michael Pineda in a 3-2 loss to the Mariners last Saturday. The Rays have lost 11 of 17.
Bautista went deep in the fourth to give the Blue Jays a 1-0 lead, snapping a drought of 46 at_bats without a homer. The Toronto slugger is 9 for 22 with four homers in his career against Price.
Tampa Bay had J.P. Howell intentionally walk Bautista with no one on base and two outs in the eighth. Howell then retired Adam Lind on a grounder.
Yunel Escobar connected for Toronto in the sixth, but Jennings snapped an 0-for-13 slide with his second homer in the bottom half.
Rajai Davis' RBI double, which ended Price's night, made it 3-1 in the seventh.
``When you get to a game like this and you lose, everybody will start nitpicking,' Maddon said. ``But David did nothing wrong. David pitched well. When you don't hit, then everything else is kind of exaggerated. When you give two or three runs in an outing as a starting pitcher, we should be able to overcome that.'
NOTES: Tampa Bay executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman was at the ballpark, three days after having an appendectomy. ... Maddon has a bad head cold that he picked up over the weekend in Seattle. ... Tampa Bay C John Jaso (right oblique strain) could resume swinging a bat by the end of the week. ... Rays bullpen coach Bobby Ramos (throat problem) rejoined the team after missing the just-completed 10-game road trip.
The Associated Press News Service
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