NEW YORK — David Price played a big role in Tuesday's 2-1 victory over the Yankees that was the Rays' season-high-matching fourth straight, working a solid seven innings.
So did red-hot Logan Forsythe, who had an RBI single. First baseman James Loney, who flashed more leather and hit the go-ahead home run. And Jake McGee, who worked a 1-2-3 eighth.
But Joy Holden, a mid-80-year-old woman from Australia?
Well, she did, too.
Holden is deposed closer Grant Balfour's grandmother, and she flew from Australia to Vancouver to New York to see Tuesday's game before heading to Florida. Manager Joe Maddon saw Balfour with her in the hotel lobby Tuesday and decided it was as good a reason as any, if the situation arose, to give Balfour the chance to pitch the ninth. He did — around two walks — for his first save since June 11.
"I thought his karma had to be good," Maddon said. "That's the truth."
The win was the Rays' sixth in their past seven games, and 13th in 20, and kept them, at 37-49, within single digits — well, 9½ games — of AL East-leading Toronto.
Amid rampant trade speculation, Price said Monday that he believes that if the Rays keep winning, the chances he could be dealt will be diminished. He went out and did his part again, allowing one run on four hits, striking out nine though walking three and throwing 119 pitches.
Though disappointed he fell one strikeout short of reaching double digits for a sixth straight game, Price was pleased with his performance on a hot, steamy night that left his uniform soaked and sweat flying off his arm with each delivery.
"It was tough," he said. "Kind of taxing."
The Rays took the lead in the fourth when Matt Joyce beat the shift with a left-side grounder, hustled to third on Evan Longoria's single and scored on a single by Forsythe, now 18 for his last 39.
The Yankees tied it when the Rays messed up another rundown play after Price caught Jacoby Ellsbury breaking from first. A return throw from shortstop Ben Zobrist hit Ellsbury, allowing Derek Jeter to score from third.
The retiring Jeter, who doubled, has had his share of success off Price.
"I'm going to miss seeing Jeter out on the field, but I'm not going to miss him in the box," Price said. "I feel like if I had a lineup full of 40-year-old Derek Jeters, I might not make it through the fifth. It's tough, man. He is who he is, and that's what makes him so special."
But the Rays reclaimed the lead in the sixth. Loney, who struck out with two on in the fourth, knocked Hiroki Kuroda's first pitch over the rightfield fence, his second homer of the road trip.
"He was upset about his previous at-bat when he did not drive in the run because he was pretty confident," Maddon said.
After using McGee to face the 2-3-4 hitters in the eighth, Maddon summoned Balfour. He walked Carlos Beltran, then struck out Brian McCann and got Brian Roberts on a liner. He walked Kelly Johnson, then came back to get Yangervis Solarte on a ground out.
"It was nice to get back out there in the ninth," Balfour said.
Grandma would agree: "I'm sure she was happy I was able to get in tonight."