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Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price hoping to continue Saturday's dominance

ST. PETERSBURG — LHP David Price tops the American League with 11 victories, ranks second with a 2.44 ERA and is emerging as a leading candidate to start the July 13 All-Star Game.

But his biggest concern is pitching more often like he did Saturday, dominating with his fastball, striking out 11 (while walking only one) over eight innings and throwing 77 of his 113 pitches for strikes.

"That's where it needs to be every time out or close to it," Price said. "Me and (pitching coach Jim Hickey) have been working on that the past two weeks, and it finally clicked today."

Manager Joe Maddon raved as much about what Price did as how he did it.

"I really thought that was his second-best outing of the year (after his season-opening win vs. the Yankees)," Maddon said. "I'm saying that because of his strike-throwing. He was just all over the zone, he kept pounding with really good, quality pitches. I thought he looked great."

So did the Diamondbacks. "Their guy was pretty electric, and we didn't have an answer for him," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He likes his fastball, and he likes to come right at guys. He's an emotional pitcher, he pitches off adrenaline and he didn't back down regardless of who was up there. He's a good one."

C.C. REPORT: Pinning down LF Carl Crawford's return to the lineup might be more difficult than running the speedster down on the bases.

Crawford said Saturday that he reinjured his sore left shoulder during his pinch-running appearance Friday but also said it had "gotten a little better," and he hoped to play as soon as today.

But Maddon said Crawford hasn't tried throwing yet, so it's unlikely he would be in leftfield, though there is "probably an outside shot" he could DH.

WALK THIS WAY: In their first 2,008 games, the Rays never got walks at all nine spots in the batting order. Saturday, they did it for the second time in a span of eight games. … Arizona's Ian Kennedy was the first pitcher to allow nine walks since Boston's Josh Beckett did in Aug. 19, 2006 vs. the Yankees.

MORNING AFTER: As much as the Rays were trying to forget the no-hitter thrown against them Friday — "That game, we lost 1-0," Maddon said — Arizona's Edwin Jackson is trying to remember exactly what he did against his ex-mates.

"It's still surreal pretty much," Jackson said. "Still looking at it like, 'Wow, like really?' "

Jackson said he stayed up until around 3:30, watching the highlights a few times but mostly relaxing with his parents, who were down from Georgia for the historic game. He did get a bottle of champagne from former teammate James Shields.

Despite throwing 149 pitches, the most of any big-leaguer in more than five years, Jackson said he felt fine and shouldn't miss any time, though the team is considering pushing his next start back from Wednesday to Friday or Saturday.

PITCHING IN: Rookie RHP Wade Davis hasn't won in a month, but the Rays say the issues aren't how he's feeling or how he's throwing (especially after some slight adjustments) but what he's thinking. "It's incredible what confidence does for us," Maddon said. "With Wade, what he needs is a confidence-building performance."

MISCELLANY: Justin Upton is 4-for-6 thus far in the series, brother B.J. 0-for-6. … Maddon acknowledged that the possible return of OF Rocco Baldelli is "in the back of everybody's mind" but said it hasn't been discussed and "he's definitely not ready for that right now." … C Dioner Navarro, optioned to Triple-A Durham on Thursday, is expected to join the Bulls for Monday's game. … OF Gabe Kapler (right hip flexor strain) went 1-for-4 in his second rehab game for Class A Charlotte, with a Tuesday return to the Rays in sight. … Evan Longoria and Willy Aybar will sign autographs for kids from 12-12:30 today. … 20th-round draft pick LHP C.J. Riefenhauser signed, making it 21 of 53 but not top pick Josh Sale.

Tampa Bay Rays starter David Price hoping to continue Saturday's dominance 06/26/10 [Last modified: Sunday, June 27, 2010 12:33pm]
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