American League Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Texas|
(Monday, September 30th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 5, Texas 2
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - David Price and Evan Longoria kept the Tampa
Bay Rays' season alive Monday with exceptional performances in Game No. 163.
Price went the distance for the fourth time this year and Longoria belted a
deciding two-run homer to give the Rays a 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers
in a one-game playoff to determine the AL's second wild card winner.
The teams came in with identical 91-71 records after a roller coaster
September and were playing for the right to play in Cleveland on Wednesday.
Price (10-8), who came in sporting an ugly 10.26 ERA in four career starts in
Arlington, made sure the Rays moved on by limiting the Rangers to two runs on
seven hits. The ace struck out four, walked one and retired 11 of the last 12
batters he faced to finish off his gem.
"My last time against these guys, I beat them as well, so that kind of gets
lost in it, just getting that first game out of the way," said Price. "Getting
that first win against a team you've never beat, that's huge. Last time on
this mound, I beat those guys. We did it again tonight. It's pretty special."
Longoria reached base in four of his five plate appearances, adding a walk, a
single and a double to a home run that sent the Rays into the postseason for
the fourth time in the past six years.
"It's a whirlwind, like it always is," said Longoria. "We went through so much
in the last three days, the ups and downs and the emotions, that it kind of
feels like the whole season. We've had a lot of disappointment here, and to be
able to celebrate here, it's pretty fitting."
The Rays have an off day Tuesday -- their first in three weeks -- before
playing the Indians in a one-game playoff, with the winner set to play the
Boston Red Sox in the division series.
The Rangers, looking to reach the postseason for the fourth straight year,
opted to start rookie Martin Perez opposite the reigning AL Cy Young Award
winner. Perez (10-6) settled in after a slow start, but not before allowing
three runs on four hits and a pair of walks over 5 1/3 innings.
The Rays will face another rookie Wednesday in Danny Salazar, who started the
year in Double-A but has a respectable 3.12 ERA in 10 outings for the Indians.
Cleveland won its final 10 games for the right to host the wild card game,
while the Rangers needed a seven-game winning streak just to force Monday's
play-in -- the 10th one-game tiebreaker in MLB history.
Texas seemingly received a boost in its lineup with the return of the
suspended Nelson Cruz, but the slugger went 0-for-4 and the club never dug
itself out of an early hole.
"I'm disappointed. We didn't get it done," Rangers manager Ron Washington
said. "I have no excuses for that."
Perez showed big-game jitters out of the gate. The 22-year-old lefty bought a
moment of relief when Desmond Jennings was thrown out trying to stretch his
leadoff hit into a double, but a walk and consecutive singles put Perez in a
Delmon Young, a late-season free agent pickup, drove a sacrifice fly to center
field to bring in Wil Myers, and the Rays padded their lead in the third.
Jennings reached on a walk to open the frame, and after the next two hitters
recorded outs, Longoria golfed a first-pitch fastball to right-center that
carried over the wall and gave Tampa Bay a 3-0 cushion.
Price erased a walk in the first inning by picking off Elvis Andrus and shook
off a leadoff double the next frame. He couldn't escape the third unscathed
as Craig Gentry led off with a single, moved to second on a groundout and
scored on Ian Kinsler's bloop single over the second baseman.
For the second time in the game, however, Price outsmarted a baserunner and
caught Kinsler trying to steal second to end the frame.
Despite retiring eight straight and having thrown just 74 pitches, Perez was
pulled with one out in the sixth. Longoria greeted Alexi Ogando with a double
to right-center, and David DeJesus, pinch-hitting for Sean Rodriguez, followed
with a double into the right-field corner to knock in another run.
Ogando left the bases loaded, and the Rangers nearly pulled within a run in
the bottom half when Alex Rios sent one deep to left-center. The line drive
hit the wall, though, and Rios settled for an RBI double instead of a two-run
Rios was stranded on third, and a Tanner Scheppers' throwing error on a
pickoff attempt allowed the Rays to tack on an insurance run in the ninth. Sam
Fuld was dead-to-rights trying to steal third, but Scheppers threw wildly and
into left field as Fuld scored on the costly error.
With his pitch count at 108 entering the ninth, Price stayed in the game. He
retired Adrian Beltre on flyout just in front of the left-field wall and
induced groundouts from A.J. Pierzynski and Cruz to end the Rangers' season.
Texas eliminated the Rays in the 2010 and 2011 postseasons.
This was the first tiebreaker game since the Twins defeated the Tigers in 2009
to win the AL Central ... The Rays are the first road team to win a tiebreaker
since the Mets defeated the Reds in 1999 ... Price has eight career complete
games ... Longoria's 32 home runs fell one shy of his career high set in 2009.
His seventh homer in the final game of the regular season set an MLB record he
previously held with Cardinals legend Stan Musial ... Young became the third
player all-time to play in three different tiebreaking games or series,
joining Dodgers outfielders Carl Furillo and Duke Snider ... Beltre went 1-
for-4 to tie St. Louis' Matt Carpenter for the most hits in the majors this
year with 199 ... Cruz was suspended 50 games for his involvement in the
Biogenesis scandal ... Texas hosted the game by taking four of seven previous
meetings this year.
10/01 07:56:06 ET