- 142 wins
- 110 wins
PHILADELPHIA -- David Price started the first game of Sunday's doubleheader knowing the importance of pitching well.
Not just well enough to get his 10th win, either. The left-hander needed to put some mileage between the first inning and the time he left the game.
Price came through on his assignment, going deep into the game and coming away with his 10th win of the season -- thanks to a big boost from Carlos Pena's three-run homer in the eighth -- en route to the Rays' 3-2 victory over the Phillies in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park with 44,785 watching.
The Rays are now 39-32 on the season and 10-10 in June. They are 2-3 on the current road trip.
The Rays have been short-handed ever since Joel Peralta began serving his eight-game suspension on Saturday, leaving the team to play with a 24-man active roster.
The Rays' roster expanded to 25 on Sunday, enabling them to activate left-hander Alex Torres for the doubleheader -- thanks to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that allows teams to have 26 active players for day-night doubleheaders. The roster expands before the first game and goes back to 25 after the second game. In the Rays' case, they expanded to 25 before the game and will go back to 24 afterward.
Even with the extra player, Price knew he needed to go deep into the game in order to give the Rays a fighting chance in the second game. If he had an early exit, the bullpen easily could have gotten spent. That would have made the second game even tougher to win because Rays manager Joe Maddon planned to used a hodge-podge of relievers to cover the nine innings.
"Yeah, all the starters have been talking about [needing to go deep into the game]," Price said. "We need to try and help these bullpen guys out, knowing that we're going to be a man down for the next six days. We kind of need to step up and take the load off that bullpen as much as possible."
Fortunately for Price and the Rays, the heat wave they have experienced since beginning their road trip in Washington D.C. subsided from the 100 degrees Price had pitched in against the Nationals to a more manageable 85 degrees on Sunday.
Price made the most of the conditions, while dealing with the hand he had been dealt. He held the Phillies scoreless through five innings before Jimmy Rollins broke his spell with a solo home run to lead off the sixth and give the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
Rollins' blast would be all the Phillies got against Price, who allowed one run on four hits while walking three and striking out eight in seven innings.
While Price did his job, so did Cole Hamels. The Phillies starter held the Rays scoreless on three hits and three walks, while striking out seven. Alas, Hamels came out after seven innings, too.
"You just listen to your manager and go with [his] decision," said Hamels, who got lifted after 111 pitches. "When you go out there, ultimately, the pitch count is kind of a factor in this day and age. When you reach a certain amount, they don't want to stress anything on your arm -- just because you have to keep coming back every five days."
Antonio Bastardo took over in the eighth and a Rays rally was born. Elliot Johnson walked and one out later, B.J. Upton earned a free base to bring Pena to the plate.
Pena swung at Bastardo's first pitch, a 92-mph fastball, and he deposited the pitch into the right-field stands for his 10th home run of the season and a 3-1 Rays lead.
"I know [Bastardo] has a very good fastball, and I felt like I put together a pretty good at-bat against him [in Saturday's game], just missed him," Pena said. "And I knew also he was a little bit wild. He walked B.J. in front of me.
"At the same time in that situation, I want to make sure I'm ready to hit. If I got a pitch I could drive, I wanted to put a good swing on it -- so I was ready for the fastball. It wasn't exactly a great pitch to hit, but I hit it -- and I hit it well enough."
The Phillies got one back in the eighth on Ty Wigginton's RBI single. But the Rays escaped further damage thanks to a decision by Maddon, who elected to have Burke Badenhop intentionally walk Jim Thome to load the bases. The veteran slugger beat the Rays with a walk-off homer on Saturday.
After putting Thome on, Jake McGee entered the game with the bases loaded and got Michael Martinez to fly out to right to end Philadelphia's final threat.
"[Walking Thome] didn't bother me. He's hot, he's been hot," Maddon said. "You saw what he did [on Saturday]. He's got this flair for the dramatic, and I didn't want to see that again. The guy on deck, he doesn't have the same resume that Thome does -- and I thought Jake [could] throw a strike."
Fernando Rodney got the final three outs for the Rays in the ninth to preserve the victory and earn his 20th save of the season.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.