ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — David Price struck out 11, becoming the first pitcher in 10 years to fan at least 10 in five straight starts, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1 on Wednesday.
Price (6-7) gave up five hits and one walk in 8 1-3 innings, leaving the game after Andrew McCutchen’s home run in the ninth. The last pitcher with five straight starts of 10 strikeouts was Minnesota’s Johan Santana from June 20-July 11, 2004.
Price also set a franchise record for strikeouts in a month with 54. He went 2-3 in five June starts.
Ben Zobrist’s RBI triple highlighted the Rays’ three-run first inning off Charlie Morton. Desmond Jennings and James Loney had singles, and Kevin Kiermaier drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Morton (4-9) struck out a career-high 11 in seven innings, giving up four hits.
Zobrist and Loney each had two hits, and Kiermaier drove in two runs for the Rays, who won for only the ninth time in 29 games.
Price was backed by defensive plays that included Evan Longoria landing in the first row of the stands after making a running catch of a popup, and center fielder Jennings running down Neil Walker’s 400-foot line drive at the wall with two men on base.
McCutchen’s homer was his 12th of the season and eighth this month.
The Pirates failed for the seventh time to finish off a series sweep of at least three games this season.
NOTES: RHP Gerrit Cole, out since June 4 with right shoulder fatigue, will return to the Pirates rotation on Saturday against the New York Mets. … Pittsburgh OF Sterling Marte, who left Tuesday night’s game after being injured on a stolen base attempt, passed a concussion test but was kept out of the Pirates. … Rays SS Yunel Escobar was held out due to a sore shoulder, but he is expected to play Friday at Baltimore. … The Rays will add RHP Alex Colome to the roster on Friday to start Game 1 of a day-night doubleheader.
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