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Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price seeks first win against Texas Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas — LHP David Price has accomplished a lot in his young career, including two All-Star selections and a second-place finish in the AL Cy Young Award voting.

But one thing Price hasn't done is beat the Rangers, against whom he is 0-6 with a 5.30 ERA in 10 starts entering tonight. They are the only American League team Price has faced but not defeated.

On July 4, 2009, in Arlington, he walked five and allowed six runs in 11/3 innings of a 12-4 loss.

"It's something I've thought about," Price said. "I remember pitching here 2009, July 4. It was probably my worst start in my career — ever. Once you get through this lineup and beat these guys for that first time, it kind of gets that piano off your back."

Price is coming in with a lot of confidence stemming from Tuesday's five-hit shutout of the Angels. He hopes to do more of the same against Texas — getting ahead in the count, recording quick outs and having command of his offspeed pitches.

"Whenever you're facing the Rangers, you've got to be confident," Price said. "I feel like right now they have the best lineup in baseball. It's a tough task whenever you're facing these guys. But it's also fun."

WADING IN: Manager Joe Maddon continued Saturday to rave about RHP Wade Davis' performance in Friday's 8-4 win against the Rangers, when he got out of two bases-loaded situations in preserving a four-run lead.

"Spectacular is an understatement," Maddon said. "What he did under the circumstances — almost 50,000 people in your face, a real good lineup — I was really impressed."

Davis, who was moved to the bullpen after losing the spring battle to be the fifth starter, said he is getting more comfortable as a reliever but isn't "100 percent yet."

"I'm able to be relaxed on the mound when I get out there," Davis said. "In between times, it's the more mental prep and physical prep … I'm going to have to get used to. But as far as getting into the game and getting relaxed, it's been a pretty easy adjustment."

Davis said the toughest challenge is getting ready quickly. It still takes him 20 to 30 pitches to get warm and loose. He said his pitches aren't different in relief, though Maddon said he is seeing a higher velocity.

Davis said the best advice he has received from the other relievers is to stay positive. "I'm sure one day you're going to go out and things aren't going to go right," Davis said. "You've just got to keep staying positive because you've got so many opportunities to go out there and rebound."

MEGAMONTH: RHP James Shields' four wins are tied for the majors lead and ties a team record for April set by RHP Matt Garza (2010) and RHP Andy Sonnanstine (2008).

LINING UP: Maddon said CF B.J. Upton had a planned day off Saturday, plus he wanted to get 1B/OF Brandon Allen a start to keep him fresh for pinch-hitting duties. Allen's start, his first for the Rays, came in leftfield and with his parents and sister in the stands. … SS Elliot Johnson made consecutive starts for the first time this season.

LOOKING BACK: Maddon said he had no problem with Upton trying to advance to third on a flyout to left with two outs in the first Friday. Maddon said Upton saw David Murphy drifting back on the ball and catch it awkwardly. "I really never complain about our guys being aggressive. I think he read it right, and I think that Murphy just made a great play."

MINOR MATTERS: C Nevin Ashley broke his right hand on a foul tip during Triple-A Durham's loss to Indianapolis on Friday. … SS Reid Brignac is 3-for-20 in five games for Durham.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price seeks first win against Texas Rangers 04/28/12 [Last modified: Saturday, April 28, 2012 11:15pm]
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