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In 18 previous starts this season, David Price had yet to finish an outing without allowing an earned run…until Sunday. The 19th time was the charm. In the final game before the all-star break against the Tampa Bay Rays, David Price was, well, David Price of old. He shut down the Rays allowing just 4 hits in 8 innings, striking out 10 (for the 3rd straight game) and allowing just 1 BB. This is what the Red Sox are paying him $30+ million a year to do.

With the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays both winning on Sunday, a W was crucial for keeping the division race tight going into the 4-day break. The Red Sox improve to 49-38 and are still in a virtual tie for 2nd place in the AL East with the Blue Jays, both 2 games back of the Orioles. If Price can continue to pitch like an ace and the Red Sox can bring in another starter to bolster the rotation, this race will only get more intense as the calendar turns to August and September.

For now, the Red Sox can rest and recover in a positive mindset knowing that they have won 4 straight, including a sweep of the Rays. Although they have some pitching holes and several injuries to deal with, 11 games above .500 at the all-star break is a great accomplishment.