The left-hander wanted to get it without allowing any runs, and he did thanks to a little help.
Smyly struck out nine in a career-high 7 2/3 innings to beat the Rangers for the second time this season. The left-hander hasn't allowed Texas an earned run in three appearances, including a start and a relief outing when he was still with Detroit.
Smyly (7-10), who lost at Oakland five days after the Price deal at the non-waiver trading deadline July 31, got Shin-Soo Choo swinging for the second out with runners at second and third in the eighth.
"He was so good," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "He was in command of everything. He was still throwing 92 when he punched out Choo at the end."
Before Adrian Beltre's line-drive single to left center in the seventh inning, the only hit for the Rangers was a bunt by Daniel Robertson in the third. Rougned Odor had a bloop double off Smyly in the eighth.
"It was the longest game of my career, so it might have been my best," Smyly said. "Some days you're really feeling it."
Colby Lewis (8-9) couldn't build on the momentum of his second career shutout, giving up five runs in five innings.
Just two of the runs were earned because Tampa Bay's three-run second inning was sparked by the Texas right-hander's throwing error trying to get Cole Figueroa at third on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Curt Casali. Lewis also had four walks and hit a batter.
"Beat myself, that's all there is to it," Lewis said. "That can be your guys' quote. I really don't have much more than that."
Lewis had a chance to escape the second with a 1-0 deficit before Joyce's two-out, bases-loaded hit for a 3-0 lead. The sharp single to right field came after Joyce ripped a line drive that was just foul and struck a security guard in the face. The man was bleeding as he was led off the field.
"Colby threw some tough pitches," said Joyce, who walked twice and was hit by a pitch. "I fought off a tough one. Then I finally got one I could handle."
SHARING THE WEALTH
Figueroa, Desmond Jennings, Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria each had a run-scoring hit for Tampa Bay. Figueroa also had a double and scored twice. Zobrist was the other Tampa player with two hits and has reached base 16 times in 25 plate appearances over five games.
TIMES HAVE CHANGED
Tampa Bay played its first game at the Rangers since beating them 5-2 in a playoff for the second wild-card spot last season. That was after Texas beat the Rays in AL Division Series in 2010 and 2011 on the way to the first two World Series appearances for the franchise. Now the Rays are on the fringe of the wild-card race and the Rangers are 26 games under .500.
Rays: RF Kevin Kiermaier left the game in the seventh inning with tightness in his lower back. The move was precautionary. Wil Myers, on the disabled list since June 1 because of a fractured right wrist, played right field Monday night on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham.
Rangers: RF Alex Rios was out after aggravating his sprained right ankle with a slide into home Sunday against Houston. The MRI revealed no significant damage and he could return Tuesday night. Rios originally injured the ankle July 19 at Toronto.
Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (1-1, 2.61) makes his fourth start since returning from right elbow surgery. Tampa's oldest starting pitcher at 27 years, 126 days, Hellickson is 0-3 with a 5.03 ERA against the Rangers. Texas RHP Nick Tepesch (4-7, 4.46) faces the Rays for the first time since beating them in his major league debut last season.