ARLINGTON – David Price finally figured out the Texas Rangers, and ended their 2013 season with a complete-game pitching performance.
Price, backed by a strong night at the plate by Evan Longoria, carried the Rays to a 5-2 victory over the Rangers in the tiebreaking game for the second wild card in the American League on Monday at Rangers Ballpark.
Tampa Bay advances to the one-game wild-card round against Cleveland on Wednesday, while Texas ends its season at 91-72 and out of the postseason for the first time in three years.
The Rangers found themselves in an early 3-0 hole, but had pulled to within 4-2 by the sixth inning. But they didn’t have a late rally in them.
Price worked a 1-2-3 seventh, and got out of a jam in the eighth. Ian Kinsler had a one-out double, and Elvis Andrus tried to reach on a bunt. But Price made a nice defensive play with a glove flip to retire Andrus, and then retired Alex Rios on a groundout.
The Rays added a valuable insurance run in the ninth when Sam Fuld raced home by stealing third and scoring easily on a wild pickoff throw by Tanner Scheppers.
Price retired the Rangers in order in the ninth.
The Rangers stayed within striking distance all night, though, and were fortunate to keep it a 4-2 game in the seventh. Jason Frasor issued two walks in the inning as runners were at first and second with two outs when Joakim Soria entered.
Soria got Delmon Young to fly out to shallow center field on a diving catch by Leonys Martin. Replays showed Martin trapped the ball, but the six-man umpiring crew ruled it a catch.
In the end, that didn’t matter.
The Rays scored three runs off rookie Martin Perez in the first three innings. They scored once in the first on a sacrifice fly by Young, and added two more in the third when Longoria sent a two-out, two-run homer over the right-center field fence for a 3-0 lead.
The Rangers pulled to within 3-1 in their half of the third. Craig Gentry led off with a single, moved to second on a grounder by Martin and scored on a bloop single by Kinsler.
Andrus popped out, and Price picked off Kinsler for the third out. Price also picked off Andrus in the first inning.
Price entered the game with a 1-4 record and 5.98 ERA in eight regular-season starts against the Rangers.-- Drew Davison