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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Jarred Cosart has spent a lot of time studying David Price. In the last year, the young Houston right-hander has spent a lot of time outpitching him, too. Cosart threw eight shutout innings to beat Tampa Bay once again, and rookie George Springers two-run homer helped the Astros defeat the Rays 3-1 Friday night. Cosart (7-5) gave up six hits in winning his third straight start. He walked one and struck out two, retiring 12 straight at one point. The 24-year-old Cosart topped the Rays last Saturday in Houston, the Astros last victory before losing four in a row. The pitching matchup against Price (5-7) was a rematch of Cosarts major league debut at Tampa Bay last July 12 in which he took a no-hit bid into the seventh inning and finished with eight shutout innings and a win. "Hes a guy Ive watched for years, and hes one of the best in the league and hes proven that, and thats where were all trying to get," Cosart said. "I was trying to compete with him pitch-for-pitch, and you know hes not going to make too many mistakes. Tonight he made one, really." After striking out in his first five at-bats against Price, including his first try Friday night, Springer hit his 13th home run off the D-ring catwalk at Tropicana Field. It came in the third inning after the first of Jose Altuves three hits. "I was a little bit in front of it and just didnt want to hook it," said Springer. "I was actually saying to myself: Just stay fair!" Price "had some success off me the last game and he still has some success off me. It was one of those things where I was just able to hit it," Springer said. Price gave up six hits while striking out 12 in eight innings. It was his fourth straight game with double digits in strikeouts, tying Bostons Jon Lester (in 2010) for the longest such streak since 2008. Price is 1-3 in those four starts for the Rays, who have lost 18 of 24. A second-inning strikeout of Chris Carter was the 1,000th of Prices career. "It (the strikeout) is cool, cant deny that," Price said. "But it stinks. You want to win out there and were not doing that right now so its frustrating." Jonathan Villar added a solo homer for the Astros in the ninth off reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo. The Rays scored an unearned run in the ninth off reliever Chad Qualls, who got his ninth save. Yunel Escobar hit an RBI single with two outs before Ryan Hanigan struck out. Altuve leads the majors with 101 hits. Batting second in front of Springer, the Houston second baseman is 11 for 18 in four games since returning from a hand injury. "It really puts the pressure on the opposing pitcher with a guy that leads the league in hits," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Hes going to be on base a bunch, and then you have a guy in the batters box that can change the game with one swing. Its a pretty good dynamic for our lineup." Brandon Guyer and Jose Molina each had two of Tampa Bays eight hits, all singles. NOTES: The Astros optioned RHP Paul Clemens to Triple-A Oklahoma City and called up RHP Jake Buchanan, who will start Saturdays game against Tampa Bay RHP Jake Odorizzi. ... Price leads AL pitchers in innings (115 2-3) and strikeouts (133), along with hits (116) and home runs (16) allowed. ... With the signing of LHP Brock Burke, the Rays announced they have signed all 11 of their picks in the first 10 rounds of the draft. 00:23ET 21-06-14 Bobby Portis Jersey . On Saturday night, Winnipegs strong offense was again accompanied by some fantastic pitching which gave the Fish a commanding victory. Cameron Payne Jersey . He insists hes not counting. "If youre thinking hits, youre not paying attention to wins," Altuve said Sunday after leading the Houston Astros past the Texas Rangers 3-2. Now Arizonas new manager is hoping Yasmany Tomas can have the same effect on the Diamondbacks. Dwyane Wade Jersey . Hes coming back to fulfil them. One of Europes top coaches, Blatt was hired Friday by the Cavaliers, who ended a sweeping, 39-day search with an out-of-the-box selection they hope changes their fortunes. Jerian Grant Jersey . Authorities in Medina, Minn., released the details one day after Cunningham was jailed for another alleged incident with the woman he had been living with for the previous eight months. Cunningham had already been charged with felony domestic assault for allegedly choking the woman last week.TORONTO – They didnt draw it up exactly like that, but it was a victory no less. In beating Mike Smith in the final round of the shootout, Joffrey Lupul gave the Maple Leafs two points they so desperately needed. With five losses in the previous six games (and 11 in the previous 15), the ship in Toronto was (and still remains) in danger of veering noisily off track, but with a victory on Thursday night, the positive vibes certainly perked up. "It starts with one," said Lupul, following the 2-1 win over Phoenix. "We had a pretty good effort tonight. Maybe we werent our sharpest, but we fought hard and we battled and we got two points. Now you take some positives from it, come to the rink tomorrow feeling a little bit better about ourselves than we did today. We just start building positively." What they would like and certainly need to build toward is some level of consistency. The Leafs have dotted a good effort here with a good effort there, only to have subpar, dispiriting performances in the middle. A strong performance against the Kings was followed with a dud in St. Louis. A mesmerizing upset of the Blackhawks was followed by two disappointing efforts against the Penguins and Panthers. "Weve had various challenges and the latest challenge is winning hockey games," Randy Carlyle said before Thursdays victory. "But weve done some good things in there so lets not just focus on the negatives and the biggest negative is we havent played well enough to win and thats going to have to change. Were going to have to continue to find a way to develop more consistency and make less mistakes than the opposition or the team were playing against." Buoyed by a rare goal from their fourth line – Troy Bodie – the Leafs were level, if not ahead of the Coyotes for the opening half of Thursdays game. They kept the action mostly to the perimeter in the defensive zone, limited chances in the so-called critical areas and demonstrated the workmanlike effort that was missing two nights earlier. Phoenix rallied late in the second and into the third and may have snatched victory entirely – tying the score in the final five minutes on a goal from Martin Hanzal – if not for the 34 saves of James Reimer. It was the kind of effort, amid an increasingly worrying slump, that the Leafs needed. "Youre always looking for somebody to step up for you and obviously our goaltending has been one of our strongest suits," said Carlyle. "Both guys have really given us A-level quality goaltending all year and tonight was just another example of James Reimer stepping up. Were very, very fortunate to have him." Reimer was blunt after Tuesdays 3-1 loss to Florida, stating that the Leafs "either have half a team or a full team that dont show up at parts", while noting that injuries and fatigue were "excuses and theyre useless". Making a surprise start (more in Five Points), he backed up those comments with a sturdy performance. "I wanted to come in here and have a good game," said Reimer. "When you stand up and say stuff you want to back it up with an honest, solid effort." Five Points 1. Surprise Start It appeared that Jonathan Bernier would start against the Coyotes when Thursdays morning skate kicked off, but that changed quickly when the 25-year-old disclosed that he was not at an optimal level physically. "When Bernier said he wasnt 110 per cent, we said okay thats fine well go with Reimer," Carlyle said. Nursing a minor ailment, according to Carlyle, Bernier hadnt been on the ice on either Tuesday or Wednesday (an off-day for the team, as detailed above) and thus the team felt it unwise to force him in against Phoenix at less than 100 per cent. Reimer, who allowed three goals on 23 shots in his last start against the Panthers, hadnt made back-to-back starts since late November. He improved to 3-0 in shootouts this season. "We did a good job of keeping shots to the outside, but he did a really good job of fighting through some screens and battling in there," said Lupul. "Thats the one thing we know we can count on Reims for is compete level and battle." 2. Reset Carlyle gave his team two options following another off-kilter performance against Florida on Tuesday night. "Either you do the workout [that night] or well have a practice [Wednesday] and they chose that theyd rather do the half-hour workout after the game and take the day off and then get themselves ready for today," said Carlyle. Wednesday was no off-day for the coaching staff though. They huddled together for a full-scale evaluation, wanting to determine positives that werent being accentuated while eliminating some of the negatives simmering amid an increasingly concerning stretch. They presented that plan to the group on Thursday morning, also emphasizing the need for more aggressiveness on the forecheck and in the defensive zone. "We willl eventually find ways to have success," Carlyle said.dddddddddddd "Weve got to push [out] everything that is happening outside. That white noise that we talk about has to become more of a reality – its on the outside of our circle." 3. Team Game Carlyles message on Thursday morning also included a pledge for the group to remain aligned with the team structure. "You cant have success in the National Hockey League without having a team thats going to play a system and play a strong team game," he said. Pointing to the five games that preceded Thursdays effort against Phoenix, Carlyle believed his team had improved on the forecheck, cut down on defensive miscues and allowed far fewer shots against (28 per game). It was the mistakes of individuals outside the system, he deemed, that were the problem. Case in point, Nazem Kadris offensive zone turnover which led to the Panthers first goal, Jake Gardiners indecisiveness with the puck which preceded the second, and Dion Phaneufs blunder which opened the door on the third. "And its cost us," said Carlyle. "You cant have mistakes that are going to continually be committed out there that are going to cost you goals." 4. Methods of Leadership Lupul, an alternate captain with the Leafs, said the team needed its leadership to set an example during a "really tough stretch of games" and in doing so, play within the aforementioned system. The tendency, he said, was to try to do more and in doing so, actually hurt the team by doing less. "You want to step up, but you want to make sure that youre staying with the team structure," said Lupul prior to Thursdays game. "Sometimes its easy to try and do too much and get off on your own page. You see that often when teams are struggling; guys really want to make an impact and theyre doing things that arent what usually makes them successful. Its a fine line between doing that and going out and just executing a good team game." 5. Fourth Line Troy Bodie was the only Leaf to beat Smith in regulation. Scoring his first as a Leaf, Bodie squeezed a rebound between the pads of the Phoenix netminder. The 28-year-old saw exactly one shift after that as Carlyle shortened his bench. "I didnt reward them much after that," said Carlyle. "They didnt play their fourth line and so do we play ours? We just made the decision we were going to stay with the lines that we had and went with it." Bodies marker was a rare contribution from the Toronto fourth line. "Any time you can get a contribution from your fourth line, its a huge bonus for the rest of your group," Carlyle said. "It elevates their value in the room, their self-worth, and they feel a lot better about themselves and they should be commended." Bonus Point I – Clarkson Assigned shutdown duties alongside Jay McClement and Nik Kulemin, David Clarkson played a season-high of nearly 22 minutes against the Coyotes. Though the line often had difficulty with the size of Phoenixs top grouping, which includes Martin Hanzal, Radim Vrbata and Tim Kennedy, Carlyle felt Clarkson made an impact on the game. "Much more involved," he said. Bonus Point II – Gardiner Carlyle met with Jake Gardiner on Thursday morning to address his recent benching against the Panthers. Gardiner remained on the bench for nearly 20 minutes of game action between the second and third periods. "Its not that hes been playing poorly," said Carlyle of the 23-year-old. "He had five or six good, strong games, but in two games, he makes mistakes and the puck ends up in our net – its hard to ignore as a coach. And I told him that. He feels that the mistakes he made are very easily improved [upon]... nd we agree. Hes a talented young player." Gardiner played 23 minutes against the Coyotes. Stats Pack 3-0 – Record for James Reimer in shootouts this season. 2 – Combined points in the past four games for the top line of Phil Kessel, Nazem Kadri and James van Riemsdyk. 12 – Combined shots for Kessel, Kadri and van Riemsdyk against the Coyotes. 1 – Regulation wins for the Leafs since Nov. 19. 21:31 – Ice-time for David Clarkson on Thursday, a season-high. 7 – Points in the last seven games for Peter Holland, who added an assist against the Coyotes. 1 – Goal for Troy Bodie with the Leafs, the 28-year-old scoring his first on Thursday night. 17 – Points for Cody Franson this season, first on the Leafs defence. Special Teams Capsule PP: 0-3Season: 23.1% (4th) PK: 2-2Season: 77.6% (27th) Quote of the Night "Thats why I stayed around the net to take a peek." - James van Riemsdyk, on the shootout goal nearly disallowed on account of an ambiguous replay. Up Next The Leafs host the Red Wings for the first time this season during a Saturday night clash at the ACC. 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