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BOS@CLE: Lester fans nine over seven shutout frames

David Price hasn't necessarily thrown poorly in his first two outings of the season. It's just that, when you're coming off a season in which you finished second in voting for the American League Cy Young Award, expectations -- both your own and others' -- increase.

On Tuesday, Price (0-2, 4.85 ERA) will try to earn his first win of the season as the Rays look to build off Monday's win against Boston in the second game of a three-game series against Jon Lester (0-0, 3.65 ERA).

"I haven't thrown that bad. There could have been some stuff that went my way. And I had a lot better outings," Price said before Monday's game. "But that's part of baseball. That's part of life. That's something you have to roll with. But I feel good with where I'm at right now with all my pitches. Hopefully we can get some good momentum on our side and get going."

The Rays hope they started a trend in Monday's win -- only their second of the season -- and Price is looking to begin one of his own. Dating back to the 2010 postseason, the 25-year-old left-hander has gone four starts without a win. Although Price said the fact that he hasn't won in seven months doesn't bother him -- "I don't look at it that way," Price said with a laugh -- he did say his beard will be gone if he fails to earn a win Tuesday.

"Yeah, that does bother me," Price said of the four-game losing streak. "You never want to lose. Especially four starts in a row. I've had four straight starts when I got a decision and it was a loss. That's where I feel like I've just got beat. It's on me and it's something you never want to lose two in a row. ... I want to stop it at four."

In order to break that streak, Price will need his teammates to score some fraction of the 16 runs they plated Monday. That could be a tall order against Lester, who was in midseason form in his last outing, tossing seven shutout innings against the Indians while holding them to only three hits. That outing was only one of two quality starts thrown by the Red Sox this year.

Lester has fared well against the Rays in his career, with a 3.80 ERA in 16 starts. He also will be going for his 10th career win against the division rivals, and Rays manager Joe Maddon admitted Lester "will cause different problems" for his left-handed dominant lineup.

"But Sam Fuld on a lefty doesn't bother me at all. Dan Johnson hit his homer against a lefty the other day," Maddon said. "So among our lefties there are some who do good work against lefties. So you just have to balance it out. We're so lefty heavy that we have to figure it out among the other guys. But we'll put together a good lineup."

Rays: Ramirez called Maddon following retirement

Manny Ramirez shocked the baseball world Friday when he retired from baseball and quietly left the game, but the former Rays designated hitter did contact his skipper. "I was pretty much taken aback by it, because I didn't expect that to happen," Maddon said of the call. "The fact that he and I have only been together a brief period of time, personally and as an organization, I didn't know if he would be moved or motivated to do that. But he was, and he was very kind in his comments. He expressed disappointment in himself also. But he also had high praise for us as an organization, and as a group. So I felt pretty good about that." Maddon said he took Ramirez at his word, saying he hopes their relationship will remain solid in the future. "I just asked him, in the future, when our paths cross, I want to consider him a friend," Maddon said. "And I want him to be open to conversing, etcetera, and he felt pretty good about that."

• Monday's game broke a streak in which Rays hitters had struck out at least seven times in each of their nine games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the longest such streak to begin a season for any team in baseball's modern era (since 1900). The Rays struck out only four times Monday.

Red Sox: Crawford keeps eye on Rays

Carl Crawford went 2-for-5 on Monday as his former squad got the best of his current one in a battle of struggling teams. The Rays and Red Sox are both 2-8 in the season's early going, and, much like the Red Sox, Crawford is confident the Rays will pick it up. "They're your former team, so you watch them a little bit," Crawford said. "I'm close to the guys over there, so you keep up with your friends. At some point they are going to play better. Just wait, I think they're going to play better. They have a good pitching staff. They have guys in their lineup who can hit the ball well. You've just got to be careful with them."

• Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz -- who is 2-for-16 with two strikeouts against Price -- believes the lefty has a chance to be one of the game's elite pitchers. "I don't think he is right now, but he will be," Ortiz said. "CC [Sabathia] was like him when he first started. Now, CC, he doesn't have as much power but he's a better pitcher now. It's just a matter of time [for Price]."

Worth noting

Ramirez took No. 24 prior to the season and Johnson switched to No. 29, but with Ramirez's retirement, Johnson has decided to return to his old number. ... Kelly Shoppach (.267, 4-for-14) and Johnny Damon (.292, 7-for-24) are the only active Rays hitting higher than .250 against Lester. ... Red Sox outfielder Mike Cameron is 3-for-3 with a home run in his career against Price. Comments