ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Tampa Bay All-Star David Price was in control through six innings. Then a pair of walks and a misplaced cutter proved costly.
Zach Britton had his third consecutive solid start, J.J. Hardy drove in two runs and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Rays 3-2 on Friday night.
``Two games in a row where the stuff has been outrageous,' Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said of Price. ``Absolutely pitched well enough to win, just did not have enough runs.'
The Rays have scored two runs or less for Price 13 times this season, resulting in an 0-10 mark in those situations. He is 12-2 when Tampa Bay has picked up three runs or more.
``He's pretty special,' Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. ``He's pitching at a pretty high clip.'
Vladimir Guerrero got Baltimore's second hit off Price (12-12) with a leadoff single in the seventh, when the Orioles scored all their runs.
Guerrero went to third when Mark Reynolds and Robert Andino drew one-out walks. After Nolan Reimold hit a sacrifice fly and Ryan Adams reloaded the bases on an infield single, Hardy put Baltimore up 3-2 with a two-run single.
``He was carving us up all game,' Hardy said of Price. ``I think it might have been the only ball he threw over the plate all night.'
Price was touched for three runs and four hits over seven innings. The left-hander, who struck out a team-record 14 in a 12-0 victory over Toronto last Sunday, had 11 strikeouts and three walks.
``I've got to be better in the seventh inning,' Price said. ``That's part of closing games, and I didn't do a very good job of it. You've got to be good the entire time you're out there and I wasn't. It cost us the game.'
Britton (9-9) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. He was coming off starts against Minnesota and the New York Yankees where he gave up one run in a combined 12 innings.
Evan Longoria gave the Rays a 2-0 lead with a two-run double in the first. He has 60 RBIs over his last 64 games.
After Jim Johnson threw two perfect innings, Kevin Gregg gave up one hit and two walks in the ninth en route to his 20th save.
Pinch-hitter Sam Fuld opened the Rays' ninth with a single and went to second on Sean Rodriguez's one-out grounder. After Casey Kotchman and pinch-hitter Matt Joyce both walked to load the bases, Brandon Guyer hit a game-ending grounder that Hardy made a nice play on at short.
``We've just had a hard time getting the big hit when we've needed to,' Maddon said.
The Orioles had two on with no outs during the second, but failed to score when Reynolds and Andino both struck out, and Reimold flied out.
After Guerrero drew just his 14th walk of the season leading off the second, Matt Wieters followed with an opposite-field single to right for the Orioles' first hit. Price then retired his next 14 batters before Nick Markakis reached first on a two-out throwing error by third baseman Longoria in the sixth.
Notes: Fuld pinch hit for 2B Ben Zobrist, who left due to neck stiffness. ... Tampa Bay LF Desmond Jennings had been hitless in his previous 12 at_bats before an infield single in the first. ... Orioles INF Chris Davis (strained right shoulder) is set to play in a minor league game Sunday and could rejoin the team next week. ... The Rays have lost 13 times this year when the starting pitcher has gone seven or more innings. ... Tampa Bay RHP Wade Davis (8-8), 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA in two home starts against Baltimore this season, will face Orioles RHP Alfredo Simon (4-7) on Saturday night.
The Associated Press News Service
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