- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - David Price can’t control the trade speculation. The opposing hitters, he can handle them just fine.

Price came within one pitch of extending his remarkable strikeout streak, yet still did plenty to lead the resurgent Tampa Bay Rays over the New York Yankees 2-1 on a warm Tuesday night for their fourth straight victory.

“Stay here, David,” Rays manager Joe Maddon implored.

James Loney hit a go-ahead home run in the sixth inning and the Rays matched their longest win string of the season. Derek Jeter tied Lou Gehrig’s team record for doubles as the Yankees equaled their worst skid this year with their fourth loss in a row.

Price (7-7) struck out nine - he fanned at least 10 in each of his previous five starts, and was trying to join Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers to accomplish the feat six straight times.

“That would’ve been cool,” Price said.

The left-hander gave up four hits and was pulled after seven innings and 119 pitches. He fanned Francisco Cervelli for the second out in the bottom of the seventh, then got two strikes on both Yangervis Solarte and Brett Gardner, missed with a couple of close pitches and couldn’t quite get strikeout No. 10.

In 23 career starts against the Yankees, Price has never reached double digits in strikeouts.

The Rays, who spent most of June with the worst record in the majors, have won six of seven. Their recent struggles had fueled talk that Tampa Bay might trade Price before the July 31 deadline.

Price has said that the more the Rays win, the better chance he has of staying with his original club.

“I just play ball,” the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner said. “That’s my job.”

Jake McGee pitched a perfect eighth and Grant Balfour worked around a pair of walks in the ninth for his 11th save in 13 chances.

Maddon has gone to a closer-by-committee approach. He said he picked Balfour this time because of a bit of “karma” - the manager saw the reliever walking his grandmother into the team hotel lobby earlier in the day.

“True,” Maddon said.

Balfour said his grandmom, in her mid-80s, came from the family’s home in Australia to see one game at Yankee Stadium.

Story Continues →