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Danks beaten by Price, Sox swept by Rays

White Sox starter John Danks delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning Sunday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
White Sox starter John Danks delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning Sunday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – John Danks pitched well for the White Sox.

But a resurgent David Price was even better for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Price went the distance to win his second straight start since returning from an injury as the Rays completed a three-game sweep by beating the Sox, 3-1, Sunday.

Danks (2-6) allowed three runs and five hits over seven innings. The left-hander has lost all five of his road starts this year.

“I feel good about getting us deep in a game and keeping us in the ballgame, but I simply just got outpitched by David, obviously,” Danks said. “I just gave him too much of a cushion there, and he was able to be the reigning Cy Young winner.”

Price (3-4) worked around eight hits, walking none and striking out five. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner spent 47 days on the disabled list with a strained left triceps, then came back and struck out 10 in seven shutout innings against Houston.

“That injury was kind of a blessing in disguise,” Price said. “Just letting me kind of regroup, hit the re-set button, mindset, everything. I’m right where I need to be right now, and there’s still a lot of baseball left.”

Price struggled this year before getting hurt, going 1-4 with a 5.24 ERA after going 20-5 with a 2.56 ERA in 2012.

Josh Phegley hit his first major league homer for the Sox, which has lost nine of 11. The Sox have dropped 19 of their past 23 road games.

“Not bad, I guess,” Phegley said of his homer off Price. “One run, a complete game is a pretty impressive start, but I guess I just got one on him. The home run was a cutter in, and it was just kind of low enough where I could to get to it and get in there enough. I put a good ride on it.”

It was just the second time that the Rays have swept a series of three or more games against the Sox. The other time occurred in August 2008.

Desmond Jennings hit a leadoff double in the first and scored on Ben Zobrist’s sacrifice fly to put the Rays up 1-0. Sean Rodriguez made it 2-0 during the fifth with a two-out, broken-bat RBI single.

“He pitched well,” Sox manager Robin Ventura said of Danks. “It’s just one of those that they got the extra-base hit and they executed, and they get the hit that squirts through. But even that happening, he pitched well, so it’s good to see.”

Phegley got the Sox within 2-1 on a solo shot in the sixth. He went 1 for 3 with two RBIs in his debut Friday night.

“He comes up here and doesn’t seem frazzled or anything like that,” Ventura said. “You don’t really see the jitters.”

Tampa Bay regained a two-run advantage in the seventh when Luke Scott tripled and Jose Molina hit a sacrifice fly.

The Sox had two singles in first, third and fourth, but failed to score in all three innings by going 0 for 3 with runners in scoring and having one runner thrown out trying to steal second.

Tampa Bay’s James Loney went 0 for 3, ending his career-best 16-game hitting streak.

Notes: Ventura tweaked his lineup and had SS Alexei Ramirez hit leadoff for the first time this season. Ventura didn’t rule out using Ramirez again in the role. ... Sox 2B Gordon Beckham went 2 for 4 and has 11 hits in his past 22 at-bats. ... The Sox return home to play a makeup game tonight against the Cubs before heading to Detroit for the start of a three-game series Tuesday night with the Tigers.

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