Masterson hoping to help Tribe avoid sweep

Masterson hoping to help Tribe avoid sweep

Based on David Price's history versus Cleveland, the Tampa Bay Rays appear to have a fairly decent chance to hold the Indians scoreless in a three-game sweep.

A day after he was honored for his AL Cy Young Award-winning season of 2012, the left-hander looks to help the Rays shut out an opponent in three straight games for the first time in franchise history Sunday against the Indians.

Price, who initially received the award in January, was again presented with it in front of the home fans prior to Tampa Bay's 6-0 win over Cleveland (2-3) on Saturday. He went 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA last year to edge Detroit's Justin Verlander for the honor.

In his 2013 debut Tuesday, Price (0-0, 3.00 ERA) gave up a two-run homer to Matt Wieters and six other hits, then left with a 3-2 lead after six innings before the Rays (3-2) suffered a season-opening 7-4 loss to Baltimore.

             Pitching Matchup

ClevelandTampa Bay
J. Masterson
1-0, 1.50 ERA

Last Game:
4/2 at TOR
6.0 IP, 1 ER
Dec = Win
D. Price
0-0, 3.00 ERA

Last Game:
4/2 vs BAL
6.0 IP, 2 ER
Dec = ND

"He does not want to be good, he wants to be great," manager Joe Maddon told the Rays' official website. "And I love him for that. I think he handles it in the right way."

Price is in position to help the Rays make history after fellow starters Matt Moore and Alex Cobb keyed Tampa Bay holding the Indians to no runs and seven hits through the first two games of this series.

Dating to last season, Cleveland has managed nine hits while being outscored 16-0 in the last three meetings with Tampa Bay. That stretch began July 19, when Price allowed two hits and struck out seven in seven innings of a 6-0 home win.

Price, who has yielded six hits and fanned 19 over 14 straight scoreless innings against the Indians, is 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in six career starts versus Cleveland.

The Indians have not been blanked in three straight games since June 12-14, 1991. They were held to five hits Saturday and none went for extra bases.

The Rays got three doubles -- two by James Loney along with two RBIs -- and a two-run homer from Kelly Johnson.

Evan Longoria, who went 1 for 3 with one RBI, has a hit in all five games while batting .368. Longoria has seven hits in his last 14 at-bats against scheduled Cleveland starter Justin Masterson (1-0, 1.50).

Since winning his first start versus Tampa Bay while with Boston in 2008, Masterson is 0-6 with an 8.37 ERA in eight outings against the Rays. The right-hander is 0-3 with an 8.20 ERA in five career starts at Tropicana Field.

Masterson, though, pitched well in his first start this year, giving up a run and three hits in six innings of a 4-1 win at Toronto on Tuesday.

Cleveland free agent acquisition Nick Swisher is batting .353 (12 for 34) versus Price, but he's 1 for 7 with three strikeouts in this series.

The Indians are likely to be without catcher Lou Marson, who left Saturday's game in the fourth inning with a cervical-neck strain suffered when he collided with Desmond Jennings.

"It was clean," Marson said. "He got me pretty good. He had nowhere to go. I had the plate blocked pretty good, but it's just my neck is a little sore."

Tests showed he did not have a concussion.

Jennings, who stole two bases Saturday, is 4 for 6 against Masterson.

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