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TB@MIN: Price hurls seven solid for 15th of the year

The Rays entered the wrong side of the record books on Wednesday, after Seattle ace Felix Hernandez hurled the first perfect game in Mariners history.

The bright side for Tampa Bay, though, is that its pitching staff remains on a roll. Jeremy Hellickson yielded just one run in seven innings of Seattle's historic 1-0 triumph. The Rays have held opponents to three runs or fewer in 12 of their last 14 games.

"Everybody's been taking that ball every fifth day and throwing it really well," said southpaw David Price, who will start against the Angels on Thursday. "It's been a lot of fun to watch, and I'm very eager to come to the ballpark every day to watch one of our guys throw."

Price has been the team's trendsetter. In his last 10 outings, the three-time All-Star is 7-0 with a 1.89 ERA and has tallied 73 strikeouts in 71 1/3 innings.

In seven career starts against the Angels, he is 3-2 with a 3.48 ERA. He tossed a five-hit shutout against manager Mike Scioscia's club in April.

"Coming off my last one, I'm very eager to get back out there in Anaheim on Thursday," Price said. "They have a very good lineup, and they also have some very good pitching, as well. So they are a team we have to think about in the standings, especially when it comes to that Wild Card spot. We've been playing really good baseball, and we're all eager to get to L.A."

Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo isn't at all concerned with how the Rays fared in their last matchup. He's only looking forward.

"I mean, we have to take care of business," Trumbo said. "We don't care how they're feeling, or if they're scuffling, we have our own business to take care of. I know that's what everyone always says, but especially this time of year. I mean, we match up with anybody. It's just a matter of whether we go out there and get it done."

Opposing Price in the series opener will be Dan Haren, who took a few steps forward in his first three starts since coming off the disabled list but took several steps back against the Mariners on Saturday, giving up seven runs (five earned) in 3 1/3 innings. It was his shortest outing since 2003.

"The heartbeat of our team is our starting pitching, and these guys need to give us a chance to win every time they take the mound," Scioscia said. "It's not going to happen every time out. Sometimes you're going to have those off nights. But we need more consistency from our starters. Some guys have thrown the ball extremely well, when you look at Jered Weaver, you look at C.J. Wilson, and hopefully he's taking some steps forward, Zack Greinke, with Ervin [Santana] and Dan -- those guys need to give us a chance to win every night."

The Angels are very much alive in both the American League Wild Card and AL West races, but they have struggled since the All-Star break, posting a 13-18 mark.

Rays: Maddon tossed during perfecto
Skipper Joe Maddon was ejected with two outs in the seventh inning on Wednesday after arguing balls and strikes with home-plate umpire Rob Drake. Crew chief Joe West joined the discussion, and after Maddon finally left the field, Hernandez promptly retired Matt Joyce on a grounder to end the inning.

• The Rays are the only team in history to have three perfect games thrown against them in the regular season.

Angels: Trout on a power surge
Rookie sensation Mike Trout has about one-third the number of Major League at-bats he did in his Minor League career, yet the 21-year-old center fielder has 22 homers in the big leagues, compared with 23 in the Minors.

Trout tweaked his batting stance to a more upright position once he reached the Majors, which has provided him with more power.

"I tried it in BP one time and just liked the way the ball was coming off my bat, getting better spin coming off the bat and just catching it more up front instead of more deep," Trout said.

Worth noting
• The Rays have won five of their six meetings with the Angels this season, outscoring Los Angeles, 18-8, in the six affairs.

• Greinke recorded his first victory as a member of the Angels on Tuesday, snapping an eight-start winless streak.

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