The bats for the Tampa Bay Rays finally came alive. Now the Rays hope their Cy Young winner can build on an encouraging outing as they go for consecutive victories for just the second time this season in Thursday's finale with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
The Rays' offensive struggles were well documented as they stumbled during a recent stretch of poor play. They were just 2 for 35 with runners in scoring position over their previous five games and had scored only 14 runs while losing seven of eight contests.
Tampa Bay (5-9) busted out in a 6-2 win over the Orioles on Wednesday, snapping a four-game losing streak. James Loney had three RBIs and Kelly Johnson and Shelly Duncan both homered for the Rays, who avoided matching the 2001 squad for the worst start through 14 games in franchise history.
Tampa Bay's only other back-to-back wins came on April 5 and 6 against Cleveland.
The Rays' 11 hits Wednesday were their second-best performance this season and the team scored at least six runs for the first time in nearly two weeks.
"We have guys with many abilities within our lineup," manager Joe Maddon said. "What I liked was the swarming offense."
Now it's David Price's turn to get untracked. Last year's AL Cy Young winner has had an up-and-down start, and the Rays are winless in his three outings. After giving up two runs over six innings on opening day against the Orioles, Price (0-1, 5.82 ERA) was tagged for eight runs in five innings in a 13-0 loss to Cleveland on April 7. He bounced back with a solid start in Saturday's 2-1, 10-inning loss to Boston, giving up a run and four hits in six innings.
Price is 3-0 with a 5.24 ERA in six career starts at Camden Yards, and is 6-2 with a 2.27 ERA lifetime against Baltimore.
The Orioles (7-7) have alternated wins and losses in their last six games.
Adam Jones had a two-run homer for Baltimore, which managed only five hits off Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore.
"He was good. I mean, he's not a prospect no more," Jones said of Moore. "They needed a big start out of him, and they got it. They swung the bats better than they have in the previous four or five games. They came out and hit some balls. They beat us tonight, pretty pure and simple."
His victory came against the Rays on April 4, and he's 2-1 with a 3.49 ERA in five career starts against Tampa Bay.
Gonzalez has frustrated Ben Zobrist, who is 0 for 10 with four strikeouts lifetime against the right-hander.
Jones had two hits off Price in the opener after going 2 for 9 against him last season.