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Rays end 5-year losing streak in Cleveland, 6-3

Associated Press

David Price (13-5) trailed 3-0 in the second, but the AL's All-Star game starter settled in. He allowed three hits in seven-plus innings and tied CC Sabathia for the league lead in wins.

Champs Sports (Footlocker.com, Inc.)


CLEVELAND — David Price held it together after a rocky start, getting a three-run homer from Ben Zobrist and a solo shot from Carlos Pena that helped the Tampa Bay Rays end their 18-game losing streak in Cleveland with a 6-3 win over the Indians on Saturday night.

Price (13-5) trailed 3-0 in the second, but the AL’s All-Star game starter settled in. He allowed three hits in seven-plus innings and tied CC Sabathia for the league lead in wins.

The Rays won in Cleveland for the first time since Sept. 28, 2005, when they were still the Devil Rays and three years from making the World Series. It was Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon’s first win at Progressive Field, snapping a 21-game slide he began as California’s interim skipper in 1996.

Zobrist’s replay-reversed homer off former Rays pitcher Mitch Talbot (8-9) tied it at 3 in the fifth, and Pena’s shot put Tampa Bay ahead in the sixth.

Shelley Duncan hit a two-run homer for the Indians.

If the Rays were going to end their Cleveland curse, Price figured to be the guy to do it. But coming off his worst start of the season against the Yankees, the left-hander was in trouble and in a 3-0 hole after allowing Duncan’s sixth homer of the season in the second inning.

But after giving up a one-out single in the fourth, he retired 11 straight before being pulled after a leadoff walk in the eighth. Joaquin Benoit gave up a two-out single to Shin-Soo Choo but struck out Carlos Santana on a 3-2 pitch to end the threat.

Rafael Soriano worked the ninth for his 25th save in 27 tries.

Pena hit his 21st homer in the sixth, when the Rays chased Talbot, who dominated them early but couldn’t keep them down for long.

Matt Joyce followed Pena’s homer with a double, and with two outs, B.J. Upton’s ground-rule RBI double gave the Rays a 5-3 lead and ended Talbot’s night. He recorded six consecutive strikeouts against his first seven batters, but was touched up for two homers, two doubles, two singles and five runs against the last nine he faced.

Held to one hit by Talbot through four, the Rays finally got to him in the fifth, scoring three runs — all with two outs — to tie it.

Kelly Shoppach, the catcher the Indians traded to Tampa Bay for Talbot in December, singled and Jason Bartlett grounded a base hit to right. Zobrist then lined a 1-0 pitch to left that appeared to clear the wall but was initially ruled in play by the umpires.

After Zobrist hustled into third with a triple, Maddon argued that the ball had struck the metal railing above the 19-foot-high wall. The umpires left the field to look at a TV replay and needed only 80 seconds to determine that Zobrist’s shot was indeed a three-run homer.

Perhaps wanting to show the Rays what they gave up on, Talbot was dialed in from the start.

He struck out two in the first, the side in the second, and fanned B.J. Upton to start the third, giving him six straight strikeouts — a new career-high for a game — and a share of the club record shared by Bob Feller (1938), Bartolo Colon (2000) and Chuck Finley (2002).

With a chance to break the mark, Talbot retired Shoppach on a grounder to short.

Game notes

Bartlett was hit by pitches in the seventh and ninth. … Choo made a nice sliding catch to rob Upton in the fifth. … Indians closer Kerry Wood, on the disabled list with a finger blister, will throw a bullpen session in the next two days. Manager Manny Acta said the team will evaluate Wood after the workout before determining when he’ll be activated. Wood could draw trade interest before the July 31 deadline. … The Indians have an extra-base hit in 46 straight games, the majors’ longest current streak. … Price made his major league debut in Cleveland. He was in line for his first win, but the Indians scored seven runs in the ninth to win 11-10 on May 25, 2009.

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