Indians grab wild card, Rays-Rangers to duel

Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:22pm EDT
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By Larry Fine

(Reuters) - The Cleveland Indians claimed an American League wild card berth, while the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers extended the season for one more game by finishing in a tie for the league's second wild card spot on Sunday.

Cleveland capped a 10-game, season-ending winning streak with a 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins that gave them a 92-70 record and ensured they would host the AL wild card playoff game on Wednesday.

"Think I'm kind of speechless right now," said Indians first baseman Nick Swisher, who got Cleveland started with a two-run homer in the first inning.

"From 94 losses to 92 wins," he added about the team's turnaround from a 68-94 mark in 2012. "I'm so proud to be part of this."

Their opponent was still undecided as Sunday wins by the Rays and Rangers kept them deadlocked with 91-71 records and set up a do-or-die tiebreaker in Texas on Monday.

Tampa Bay scored six runs in the first inning and then held on to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6, while the Rangers snapped a 2-2 tie in the sixth on their way to beating the Los Angeles Angels 6-2.

Texas, which rebounded from a 5-15 September swoon by finishing with seven straight wins, was expected to start rookie left-hander Martin Perez against Tampa Bay's 2012 Cy Young winner David Price.

The Rays have been knocked out of the playoffs in their last two postseason appearances by the Rangers.   Continued...