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Price returns to form; Rays blank Astros again

Jul 3, 2013 - 7:00 AM Houston, TX (Sports Network) - David Price turned in a vintage 10-strikeout performance in his return from the disabled list and Desmond Jennings knocked in four runs as the Tampa Bay Rays took a 8-0 victory to blank the Houston Astros for the second straight night.

Price (2-4) had been struggling in his six starts prior to being sidelined on May 15 with a left triceps strain, but looked like his 2012 AL Cy Young Award-winning self on Tuesday, tossing seven shutout innings of three-hit ball on a mere 70 pitches.

"That's probably the best I've felt on a baseball field maybe in my entire life," Price said. "I felt like that's the most control I've had of a baseball game in a very long time."

Jennings backed his outstanding effort with three hits -- including a two-run homer -- and also scored twice in Tampa's fourth straight win and seventh in nine games overall.

Houston starter Erik Bedard (3-4) lacked control of his command, walking six batters while giving up four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. He had allowed three runs or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts coming in.

The Astros lost the opener of this four-game set, 12-0, and have dropped five straight games overall. They have totaled just five runs and have struck out 51 times over the stretch.

The Rays only came away with a sac fly from Wil Myers after loading the bases in the first inning, but got another threat going in the fourth to pad their lead.

James Loney and Jose Molina each reached with one out and then moved to second and third following a groundout from Kelly Johnson. Jennings then ripped a base hit through the right side to plate both runners and create a 3-0 lead.

Jennings added some more insurance two innings later when he stroked a two-run homer off reliever Josh Fields, giving the Rays a 5-0 cushion.

Price faced the minimum on 36 pitches through the first four innings before striking out five of the last seven batters he faced.

"That's why he's a Cy Young winner," said Astros manager Bo Porter about Price. "And he pitched like it tonight."

Tampa added three more runs in the ninth to tack onto its margin, with Yunel Escobar stroking a two-run double before Loney's two-bagger that followed capping the scoring.

Game Notes

Evan Longoria returned for the Rays following a three-game absence with a foot injury and went 2-for-4 ... Loney extended his hitting streak to 13 games ... Myers has hit safely in 13 of his first 15 career games in the majors... It was the second time this season Houston has been shut out in back-to-back games (April 2-3 versus the Texas Rangers) ... Carlos Corporan had two of the Astros' four hits ... Tampa optioned infielder Ryan Roberts to Triple-A Durham prior to the game and signed pitcher Ryne Stanek, the team's first-round pick in last month's draft. The team also agreed to terms with pitcher Ramon Ramirez on a minor league contract.

  • Chris Carter flied out to center to end the game.

    Jul 2 11:13 PM

  • James Loney doubled to center scored Yunel Escobar with two outs. Runner on second and Jose Molina due up.

    Rays 8, Astros 0  Top 9, 2 OutsJul 2 11:06 PM

  • Yunel Escobar doubled to right scored Sam Fuld and Wil Myers with two outs. Runner on second and James Loney due up.

    Rays 7, Astros 0  Top 9, 2 OutsJul 2 11:03 PM
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    Rays 7, Astros 0  Top 9, 2 OutsJul 2 11:03 PM

  • Desmond Jennings one-out, two-run Home Run (10) to left scored Jose Molina. Sean Rodriguez due up.

    Rays 5, Astros 0  Top 6, 1 OutJul 2 9:58 PM
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    Rays 3, Astros 0  Bot 5, 1 OutJul 2 9:39 PM

  • Desmond Jennings singled to right scored James Loney and Jose Molina with two outs. Desmond Jennings to second on the throw. Runner on second and Sean Rodriguez due up.

    Rays 3, Astros 0  Top 4, 2 OutsJul 2 9:17 PM
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    Rays 1, Astros 0  Bot 1, 2 OutsJul 2 8:29 PM

  • Wil Myers sacrifice fly out to right scored Desmond Jennings with two outs. On the play, Sean Rodriguez advances to third. Runners on first and third and Yunel Escobar due up.

    Rays 1, Astros 0  Top 1, 2 OutsJul 2 8:21 PM

  • TAMPA BAY: 0
    HOUSTON: 0
    Top 1, 0 Outs

    Jul 2 8:12 PM