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The Sports Xchange, Published April 22 2014

Price rebounds against Twins

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – It wasn’t hard to tell whether left-hander David Price was more upset about the two pitches he allowed for home runs or the line drive Joe Mauer rocketed off his protective cup on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field.

The two home run balls, easy. The line drive didn’t hurt, he said, but those two pitches cost him a shutout.

Price followed his worst outing of the season by tossing a complete-game six-hitter in the Rays’ 7-3 win over the Minnesota Twins.

“If I’m going to get hit, that’s the place to hit me,” Price dead-panned. “I don’t know how it didn’t break (the cup). Two feet higher and it hits me in the face.”

Price, who went a season-low five innings and allowed six earned runs on Thursday in a loss to the New York Yankees, was threatened only in one inning – when he allowed two home runs and the shot by Maurer. He struck out 12 and walked just one.

Tampa Bay improved to 10-10 in taking the first of the three-game series. The Twins fell to 9-10 and lost for the third time in four games.

Left fielder David DeJesus went 3-for-4 and knocked in three runs for Tampa Bay, and designated hitter Matt Joyce and first baseman James Loney each went 2-for-4 with a double and plated a pair.

Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead in the first inning against right-hander Kyle Gibson. Second baseman Ben Zobrist led off with a walk and took second with one out when shortstop Pedro Florimon misplayed a Joyce pop-up into a single. Third baseman Evan Longoria walked to load the bases before Loney hit a two-run double to the gap in left. DeJesus then followed a Wil Myers single with a run-scoring base hit off the base of the right-field wall.

The Rays led 3-0, as Gibson required 41 pitches finish the inning.

“I don’t know how you get a base hit on a pop fly to shortstop,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “That’s ridiculous. He didn’t miss it in the roof. He just missed the ball.”

The Rays improved the lead to 5-0 in the third on a DeJesus’ two-run single.

Price cruised into the fourth having not allowed a base runner, but Brian Dozier led off with his sixth homer of the season to trim the lead to 5-1.

“Dozier got him off his rhythm a little bit,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “To his credit, he put a good swing on it.”

MIN ab r h bi TB ab r h bi

Dozier 2b 4 1 1 1 Zobrist 2b 4 2 2 0

Mauer 1b 4 1 1 0 Jnnings cf 5 1 2 0

Plouffe 3b 4 0 1 0 Joyce dh 5 1 2 2

Colbllo rf 4 1 1 2 Longori 3b 3 2 1 0

Kubel lf 4 0 0 0 Loney 1b 4 1 2 2

Pinto dh 3 0 1 0 Myers rf 3 0 0 0

Suzuki c 3 0 0 0 DeJesus lf 4 0 3 3

Hicks cf 3 0 1 0 Escobar ss 4 0 0 0

Flormon ss 3 0 0 0 Molina c 4 0 0 0

Totals 32 3 6 3 Totals 36 7 12 7

Minnesota 000 300 000 — 3

Tampa Bay 302 200 00x — 7

E—Dozier 1. LOB—Tampa Bay 8, Minnesota 3. 2B—Joyce (5), Loney (7). HR—Colabello (2), Dozier (6). SB—Zobrist (2).

IP H R ER BB SO

Minnesota

Gibson L, 3-1 3 10 7 7 2 3

Deduno 4 2 0 0 1 2

Burton 1 0 0 0 0 0

Tampa Bay

Price W, 3-1 9 6 3 3 1 12

Inherited runners-scored—Deduno 2-2. WP—Gibson (3).

Umpires—Home, Paul Schrieber; First, Mark Carlson; Second, Ted Barrett; Third, Will Little.

T—2:53. A—11,785 (42,735)