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Price leads Rays into second test with Twins

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Rays will meet the Minnesota Twins in the second game of a three-game set at Target Field Saturday.

The Rays will send David Price to the mound as they try to make up some ground in the American League East, while the Twins will counter with Phil Hughes on the hill.

Price is one of a handful of pitchers in the American League to have recorded nine wins prior to the All-Star break. Price's record sits at 9-7, and he sports a 3.23 earned run average.

He also leads the AL in strikeouts with 164 entering the game. The 28-year-old Tennessee native has been on fire in his last four starts, picking up wins in each of them. He pitched eight innings on July 13 against Toronto and didn't allow a single run on five hits. Price picked up five more strikeouts in the contest to add to his resume.

Price, whose name is swirling in trade rumors, has started seven games against the Twins in his career. He owns a 3-2 record against Minnesota, but has dominated the Twins with a 2.72 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP.

On the other side, Hughes will put his 10-5 record and 3.92 ERA on the line and has won back-to-back starts since going winless (0-2) in his previous three trips to the mound. Hughes has faced Tampa Bay 17 times (10 starts) in his career and is 4-5 with a 4.62 ERA.

Hughes is 3-3 in nine home starts this season.

Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson was roughed up a bit Friday night in a 6-2 loss to the Rays in the first game of the series. He surrendered all six runs to Tampa on nine hits, and was credited with the loss.

Evan Longoria doubled in the third inning and drove in three runs for the Rays to put them up 3-0 early, then, following a Trevor Plouffe homer in the third, Ben Zobrist sent a two-run shot into the seats for the winning runs. Longoria and Zobrist accounted for five of the six Tampa runs.

Alex Cobb picked up the win for the Rays after lasting 5 2/3 innings and giving up two runs on five hits.

"We pretty much picked up where we did leave it off at the All-Star break," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Tampa Bay has won three in a row and is 9-4 this month. Minnesota is an even 7-7 in the month of July, and snapped a two-game win streak with the defeat.

The Twins are sitting in the basement of the American League Central standings, while Tampa is tied with Boston for the AL East bottom at 8 1/2 games back.

National News

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