CHICAGO — In winning his 20th game and maintaining his major-league-best 2.56 ERA, LHP David Price made a pretty strong case for the AL Cy Young Award.
And after dismissing the topic and dodging the questions for weeks, Price finally said after the game that he indeed felt he was worthy.
"One hundred percent," he said. "I would vote for myself, yes."
His manager and teammates have been saying that for weeks, and they felt that his adding the milestone 20th win just made it more obvious. The voting, by 28 members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, will be done this week and announced in mid November.
"That's 20, and he did it in a very, very consistent manner," manager Joe Maddon said. "He's pretty much been the same guy every time out. Maybe one little hiccup, missed one start, that's it. But otherwise he's kind of nailed it down from the beginning to the end."
Maddon cited Price's overall performance in going 20-5, the quality of opponents he faced in the AL East and his lack of offensive support, which otherwise he "should have like 25 wins."
"He's the Cy Young winner in my mind," 3B Evan Longoria said. "I don't know why he wouldn't be."
30-30 VISION: CF B.J. Upton, playing what are likely to be his last three games with the Rays before leaving as a free agent, has a shot at another franchise first: 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season.
"That would be pretty cool," he said.
Upton already has 31 steals and homered twice Sunday — giving him 10 in his past 20 games and 17 since Aug. 11 — to extend his career high for the season to 28.
"That's an exclusive club, and it's within his reach," Maddon said. "The only concern you have there is to let the home runs happen, hopefully, and just continue to play."
Upton said that won't be a problem. "I won't go up there trying to do it," he said. "Just try to put the bat on the ball and if it happens, it happens."
KING FERNANDO: RHP Fernando Rodney worked a scoreless ninth inning to lower his ERA to 0.6136, matching Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley's 1990 mark for the lowest by a reliever (minimum 50 innings) in MLB history.
Amazingly, Rodney and Eckersley have the exact same stats, allowing five earned runs in 73⅓ innings, though Rodney has pitched in 74 games, Eckersley in 63 for Oakland. Rodney has 46 saves, Eckersley had 48.
CROWD CONTROL: The Rays are last in the majors in attendance, averaging 19,419 heading into the final three home games, with a slim chance to make the playoffs, and Maddon said he'd like to see a show of support from the fans.
"That would be outstanding," he said. "You've got to appreciate the way our guys have finished the season off. … I just think our fans are such great baseball fans that they would respect that kind of effort."
MISCELLANY: C Jose Molina "closed" the game by catching the ninth, his first action since leaving Tuesday's game with a right quad strain. … RHP Alex Cobb starts tonight saying he is a little tired from a career-high 170⅔ innings (between Triple A and the Rays), but on game day "there's so much adrenaline going that your body feels fine." … The USF softball team, which reached the Women's College World Series, will be honored tonight. … The Rays, per baseball-reference.com data that goes back to 1918, on Saturday became the first team to score 10 or more runs while striking out 16 times.