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Rays set to face Tigers aces

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Rays will conclude their three-game series with the Detroit Tigers on Thursday by facing their former staff ace, David Price.

Before that highly-anticipated meeting all they have to do is square off against a pair of Detroit hurlers who have won a combined 27 games this season.

First up on Tuesday will be a meeting with Detroit's Max Scherzer, who tries to join the 15-win club in the opener of this series at Tropicana Field.

Scherzer, a 21-game winner last year, won for the first time in three starts on Thursday as he struck out a season-high 14 batters over eight scoreless innings versus Pittsburgh on Thursday. The righty scattered three hits and two walks while improving to 14-4 with a 2.98 earned run average this season.

"We needed a win, and our bullpen needed a break. So this was a huge game for us," noted Scherzer, who has struck out 196 batters in 169 innings this year after fanning 240 a season ago.

Scherzer is 4-2 with a 2.56 earned run average in seven previous meetings with the Rays, who he beat at home on July 3. The 30-year-old struck out seven over eight innings of one-run ball.

That was the only game that the Tigers won in that four-game set as the Rays won the final three meetings and secured the series win when Price beat the Tigers in the finale.

Price, though, landed in Detroit on July 31 in a three-team deal that netted the Rays starter Drew Smyly and minor leaguer Willy Adames from the Tigers as well as infielder Nick Franklin from the Seattle Mariners.

Price's fourth start with Detroit will come in Thursday's finale after the 13-8 Rick Porcello gets the call on Wednesday for the Tigers.

The Tigers are coming off a series loss to the Mariners, a team they are battling for a playoff spot, and dropped Sunday's finale 8-1.

Robbie Ray, a 22-year-old rookie, got the start for the Tigers in the rubber match and allowed four runs -- three earned -- on seven hits and two walks in five innings.

The offense, meanwhile, went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

"It was a bad day all the way around. We didn't have good at-bats, we didn't pitch very well and we didn't play good defense," Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said.

Ausmus will hope his team's bats can get going tonight against Chris Archer, who is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in two previous meetings with the Tigers. That includes a victory on July 5 as he yielded two runs -- on solo homers by Alex Avila in the seventh inning and J.D. Martinez in the ninth -- over 8 1/3 frames.

Archer, a 25-year-old righty, is 2-0 over his last three outings and struck out a career-high 12 batters in Wednesday's 10-1 win over Texas. He scattered a run, four hits and two walks over seven innings, his longest outing in six starts.

"It was one of those situations where you get in the zone and blackout," Archer said after improving to 8-6 with a 3.24 ERA on the year.

Tampa Bay dropped the finale of a three-game set with the New York Yankees 4-2 on Sunday and have lost back-to-back games since winning three in a row.

"We're just not hitting enough to cover things," said Tampa manager Joe Maddon. "This has been a problem for a little while now and we have to figure it out soon."

Evan Longoria brought home both runs for the Rays, while Jeremy Hellickson was charged with three runs on four hits and two walks in five innings.

08/19 10:57:25 ET