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Rays

Price wins 14th, leads Rays to sweep of Tigers

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Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM
ST. PETERSBURG -

David Price etched his name into the Rays' record book Thursday when he earned his 14th win, a meaningful number in that it tied the mark for victories in a season.

No beer bath for Price, though. And no significance to the deed, either.

"Not really," he said after the Rays' 4-2 victory against the visiting Tigers. "I'm not going to end the year on 14 wins, so I'm not going to think about that now."

Price plans on pitching in and winning more meaningful games this season.

"I look on how many starts I have left and focus on that," Price said.

Speaking of meaningful games, the Rays will play a trio this weekend against the first-place Yankees.

The series is already sold out, marking the first time in franchise history the Rays have sold out three consecutive regular-season games.

Naturally, the Rays downplayed the significance of the series that matches the teams with the two best records in the major leagues.

"I just wish we approach (tonight) like we did (Thursday) and we did (Wednesday)," Manager Joe Maddon said.

Maddon said it's still too early in the season to place too much importance on one set of games even though this series will end in August and the Rays have a chance to move past the Yankees and back into first place.

"We're in that little banged-up mode right now, so I don't know what the lineup is going to look like yet (tonight)," Maddon said. "As always I want to keep the same amount of weight to the game. Don't put any more weight on it. Just play like we've been playing and I'll be satisfied."

The Rays have been playing well since leaving the Bronx on July 18 having lost two of three at Yankee Stadium.

Thursday's win was their sixth straight and eighth in their past 10 games. They are now 25 games above .500 and four wins ahead of their 2008 pace when they won 97 games.

"I like that we're playing baseball. It's been great," said Carlos Peña, who drove in all four runs with a home run and two infield singles off the glove of Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera. "I think we've put together a great combination of pitching, defense and hitting. That's what we're capable of doing on a consistent basis. It's not that one needs to carry the other. All we need to do is chip in a little bit and the results will be pleasing at the end. I like that feel, the feel of let's just do what we can.

Everyone does a little bit and the next thing you know we're piling up some runs and put some zeros on the board and at the end of the day we got a W. I like the way we're playing baseball."

Peña's three hits raised his season average to .216, the highest it's been since it was .224 on May 2. His home run, which struck the D-ring catwalk in right field, was his 23rd of the season. His four RBIs gave him a team-high 68.

What's more, Peña is hitting .270 in his last 46 games. What might be even more important is Peña tends to get hot at this time of year.

Maddon said that is due to Peña's daily approach. He stays relaxed and doesn't get worn down by the pressures of playing every day.

"I can understand why he gets better as (the season) gets deeper," Maddon said.
Peña was 6-for-14 with two home runs and seven RBIs in the four-game sweep of the Tigers.

It was a Detroit team slowed by injuries to Carlos Guillen, Brandon Inge and Magglio Ordonez, and the Rays did exactly what a team with designs on winning the World Series should do against such a team - sweep them.

"They're kind of banged up right now, but it's still a major league baseball team, so it doesn't matter," Price said. "You got to take your wins wherever you can get them. That's a good team, we were able to sneak out four (wins) and we played good baseball. If we can continue to do that I like our chances against anybody."

Price pitched into the seventh inning to take pressure off a tired bullpen. Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit and Rafael Soriano were not available. Price moved ahead of CC Sabathia and Carl Pavano for the American League lead in wins.

He also joined Rolando Arrojo, James Shields and Edwin Jackson as the only Rays pitchers to win 14 games in a season. Arrojo set the record in 1998, Shields and Jackson tied it in 2008.

With at least a dozen starts left, Price is aiming for 20. At least.

"He's got a shot," Maddon said.

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