Rays beat Rangers to claim last wild card spot
(Reuters) - The visiting Tampa Bay Rays claimed the last berth in Major League Baseball's postseason and a measure of revenge by beating the Texas Rangers 5-2 in a wild card tiebreaker on Monday.
Tampa Bay's slugging third baseman Evan Longoria went 3-for-4 with a single, a double and a two-run homer to support reigning Cy Young winner David Price, who hurled a complete game seven-hitter for the win.
Victory in the tiebreaker, which was needed after the two teams finished the regular season with identical 91-71 records, gave the Rays the American League's second wild card berth.
They will face the Cleveland Indians in a one-off game on Wednesday with the winner to play a best-of-five Division Series against the top-seeded AL East champion Boston Red Sox.
There was also a measure of revenge for Tampa Bay, who had been eliminated by Texas in the Division Series in their last two playoff appearances in 2010 and 2011.
"Was kind of fitting that we had to go through these guys to get to the postseason seeing as we've had some heartbreaks here in the past," Longoria told reporters.
Price improved to 10-8 in the game that counted as the 163rd of the regular season, while the Rangers' 22-year-old rookie left-hander Martin Perez of Venezuela dropped to 10-6 after giving up three runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Hard-throwing Price, who entered the game with a 1-7 career record against Texas including three playoff losses, was not at his best but grew stronger as the game wore on.
Price helped his cause by picking off two baserunners in the early innings and turned Elvis Andrus's bid for a bunt single in the eighth into an out by flipping the ball from his glove to first baseman James Loney to deny the speedy Ranger. Continued...