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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, September 20th (All times eastern)

Boston Red Sox (68-82) at Tampa Bay Rays (79-70), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Boston - Clay Buchholz (11-6, 4.33) Tampa Bay - David Price (18-5, 2.54)

(Sports Network) - David Price aims to become the American League's first 19- game winner on Thursday when the Tampa Bay Rays conclude a four-game set with the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field.

Price was terrific in beating the New York Yankees on Friday, as he held them to two runs and five hits in seven innings to run his record to 18-5 to go along with an AL-best ERA of 2.54.

The strong outing came on the heels of the AL Cy Young Award front-runner missing a start due to shoulder soreness.

"It felt good," Price said of his first start since Sept. 2. "My body felt good, my arm, my back, my legs, they all felt pretty strong."

Price beat the Red Sox the last time he faced them and is 7-4 lifetime against them with a 3.15 ERA in 13 starts.

Boston, meanwhile, will counter with righty Clay Buchholz, who is 11-6 with a 4.33 ERA. Buchholz did not get a decision on Saturday in Toronto, despite allowing just two runs (1 earned) and four hits with five walks in seven innings of work.

"It feels good. It's a shame it didn't happen at the beginning of the season when I wanted it to, or expected it to," Buchholz said about his run of success. "That's why this game is humbling; you can go out there and feel great and give up six runs, or you cannot have your best stuff and get through seven innings.

Buchholz is 5-4 in 12 starts versus the Rays with a 2.76 ERA.

Tampa Bay kept its fleeting postseason hopes alive on Wednesday, as Carlos Pena homered and knocked in three runs and the Rays used a seven-run sixth inning to beat Boston, 13-3.

Jeff Keppinger added a solo homer and two RBI for the Rays, who are 6 1/2 games behind the Yankees for first place in the AL East and 5 1/2 back of the second wild card.

"We are alive and we're kicking," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of his club. "We've just got to keep getting on a nice little toasty streak would be good. We have to get hot."

Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer (1-3) allowed three runs on five hits over five innings to pick up his first win in the big leagues. He had six strikeouts and four walks.

Jacoby Ellsbury went 3-for-3 with two RBI for the Red Sox, who had won the first two games of this series.

Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-6) gave up five runs on nine hits over three-plus innings to take the loss.

"It's tough for the guys standing around and watching that," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of his pitching staff, which issued 10 walks. "They got to find the strike zone."

Boston is 9-6 versus the Rays this season.

09/20 10:20:51 ET


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