LHP David Price started Game 1 of Sunday's day/night doubleheader because manager Joe Maddon was banking on Price pitching deep into the game and saving the bullpen for the nightcap.
"Yeah, all the starters have been talking about that," Price said. "We need to try and help these bullpen guys out, knowing that we're going to be a man down for the next six days. We need to step up and take the load off that bullpen as much as possible."
Price went seven innings and allowed a run on four hits, walked three and struck out eight to earn his 10th victory. It's the fourth straight season Price has reached double digits in wins. He pitched at least seven innings for the eighth time in his past 10 starts, allowing two or fewer runs for the 10th time.
"That's the best I felt in a couple of starts," Price said. "I felt like I did when I threw the ball very effective about a month ago. It's good to come out and do that."
Price even hit 100 on the radar gun with a fastball he threw in the fifth inning that hit Phillies LF John Mayberry.
"That's a great day's work," Maddon said. "He was disappointed he did not get one more at-bat (in a rare hitting opportunity), but otherwise he was fantastic."
Walking Mr. Thome
Maddon had RHP Burke Badenhop intentionally walk PH Jim Thome in the eighth inning with the Rays up 3-2 even though it meant loading the bases and moving the go-ahead run to second base.
"That didn't bother me," Maddon said. "He's hot, he's been hot. You saw what he did (Saturday). He's got this flair for the dramatic, and I didn't want to see that again. The guy on deck, he doesn't have the same résumé that Thome does, and I thought Jake (McGee) could throw a strike."
Thome won Saturday's game with a walk-off homer. The guy on deck Sunday was 2B Michael Martinez, who flied out to right against McGee to end the threat.
Maddon is not shy about using the intentional walk. He walked Josh Hamilton in 2008 with the bases loaded, after all.
"My first impression was, 'Does this make sense?' Then you're like, 'It makes sense because it doesn't,' " 1B Carlos Peña said. "That's the way we do things here. We're not afraid to try different things. We keep on saying fortune favors the bold. Well there you go. It was a bold move and it favored us."
Run, Chris, run
RHP Chris Archer almost became the first pitcher in franchise history to steal a base when he received the green light while pinch-running for LF Hideki Matsu during the eighth inning of Game 1.
Archer beat the throw with a headfirst slide but slid past the base and was tagged out.
"The speed caused him to slide right by the bag," Maddon said. "I didn't necessarily like the headfirst slide. We'll have to talk to him about that."
Archer said he hadn't slid into a base since high school and always went feet first, so he didn't know where the headfirst slide came from.
"Fundamentally my skills aren't very good," he admitted.
DH Luke Scott (back spasms) will begin a two-game minor league rehab assignment this afternoon with Triple-A Durham. He will be re-evaluated after Tuesday's game, but with the Rays playing a day game Wednesday in Kansas City, the final game of this road trip, it's likely Scott won't rejoin the team until Thursday, when they begin a homestand against the Tigers.
RHP Kyle Farnsworth (right elbow strain) is scheduled to pitch back-to-back games tonight and Tuesday for Class A Charlotte. He was to begin the two-game stretch Sunday, but the game at Brevard County was rained out.
Farnsworth is also on pace to rejoin the team during the homestand.
RHP Jeremy Hellickson (right shoulder fatigue) threw off flat ground Saturday and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today, his first since June 17 when he first felt the fatigue.
"My shoulder felt pretty good," Hellickson said.