MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Pushing the Tampa Bay Rays back toward .500 might be David Price's way of dampening trade rumors.
The All-Star left-hander pitched eight scoreless innings to win five straight starts for the first time in his major league career, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Minnesota Twins 5-1 Saturday night for their fourth consecutive victory.
Price (10-7) gave up four hits, matching his season low, and struck out nine to increase his major league-leading total to 173. He got in trouble only once, giving up consecutive singles to Chris Parmelee and Eduardo Escobar in the fifth before Eduardo Nunez grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Jake McGee got two outs for his eighth save in nine chances, completing a five-hitter.
Phil Hughes (10-6) allowed five runs and 11 hits in seven innings, matching the most hits against a Twins starter this season. He is 3-4 with a 5.63 ERA in his last seven starts.
Tampa Bay took a 3-0 lead in the second on Jose Molina's RBI single and Sean Rodriguez's 10th home run of the season, a two-drive into the second deck in left. It was the 10th home this season off Hughes, who allowed 35 in 2012 and 24 last year.
The Rays made it 5-0 in the seventh on Molina's RBI groundout and Rodriguez's run-scoring single.
Minnesota scored in the ninth against Juan Carlos Oviedo on Kurt Suzuki's one-out, RBI single.
NOTES: Twins 1B Joe Mauer took grounders before the game with coaches Joe Vavra and Paul Molitor. It was Mauer's first baseball activity since he went on the 15-day DL on July 2 because of a strained right oblique. "He said there's certain things he does right now that he still feels it, coughing and sneezing and things like that, definitely feels it, so he's obviously not ready to take swings or any of that stuff," manager Ron Gardenhire said. ... Gardenhire gave a day off to OF Josh Willingham, who is 2 for 10 in his career against Price and batting .208 this season. "Willy's fine, he's healthy. He's just missing his pitch right now." ... Ben Zobrist's first-inning single off Hughes was his first hit against the former Yankees pitcher in 17 career at-bats. ... Tampa Bay will try for the sweep on Sunday when it starts RHP Chris Archer (5-5), who is 2-0 and hasn't allowed an earned run in two career starts against the Twins. Minnesota RHP Kevin Correia (5-11) is 1-2 over his last three starts despite opponents hitting .242 against him.