Although it's too early to start comparing Smyly to Price, there's reason to believe the Rays landed a gem in the July 31 three-team deal that sent Price to the Tigers and netted the Rays three players: Smyly, infielder Nick Franklin and shortstop Willy Adames.
"He's got total command of what he is doing," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said of Smyly. "He's utilizing all of his pitches. What can I say about him? He's been outstanding."
Smyly (9-10) gave up a solo homer to Chris Davis in the second inning and a single to Steve Pearce in the seventh. The left-hander struck out six and walked one in lowering his ERA with the Rays to 1.50.
In his previous outing, Smyly blanked Toronto on two hits in his first career complete game.
"It's probably one of the better stretches I've had as a starter," Smyly said. "Really, since the All-Star break I've felt like I've kind of turned the page and done pretty well. That's what you look for, you try to get on a good roll, a good rhythm, and try to carry them over."
In 18 career appearances against AL East teams, he's 6-0 with a 1.32 ERA. That does not bode well beyond this season for the division-leading Orioles.
"Certainly, the future looks bright for him and Tampa having him in the rotation," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said, "but we'll see what baseball longevity has to say. He obviously has a chance to be a good one. Already is."
Evan Longoria had three hits for the Rays, who won for only the fourth time in 11 games. Tampa Bay scored all its runs in the first two innings and Smyly made the margin stand.
"David Price is one of the best in the game," Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy said. "It's nice we don't have to see him all the time. Smyly's a great pitcher. It doesn't get much easier."
Coincidentally, Price gave up eight runs and 12 hits on Wednesday night against the Yankees.
Baltimore lost at home for only the second time in eight games. The Orioles have lost four of six, but can capture the four-game series with a victory Thursday night.
Rookie Kevin Gausman (7-6) labored through four innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits before being lifted after 80 pitches. The right-hander is 1/3 with a 6.75 ERA in five career outings against the Rays.
"It would have been very easy to run him back out there," Showalter said. "It just seemed like there weren't a whole lot of unchallenging outs."
Gausman was optioned to the Gulf Coast Orioles after the game, but will surely return when rosters expand on Monday.
Tampa Bay scored twice in the first inning on an RBI grounder by Matt Joyce and a single by Wil Myers. The Rays might have had more if Longoria and Joyce didn't both end up at third base on a single by James Loney.
Ben Zobrist delivered a sacrifice fly in the top of the second, and Davis' 23rd home run made it 3-1 in the bottom half.
Rays: Longoria returned to 3B after playing two straight days as a DH because of forearm tightness. "I don't think you can say he's 100 percent, but he's a lot better," Maddon said.
Orioles: 3B Manny Machado underwent season-ending surgery Wednesday to repair a torn ligament in his right knee. "Doctor said everything went well," Showalter said.
Rays: Right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (9-4) makes his 18th career appearance against Baltimore in the series finale Thursday night. "I don't think there's a team better built for their ballpark than these guys," Hellickson said of the Orioles. "They're a powerful team."
Orioles: Bud Norris (11-8) faces Tampa Bay at Camden Yards for the first time. Norris has allowed one run or none in half his home starts this season.