Tampa Bay Rays vs. Texas Rangers: Live Score, AL Wild Card Tiebreaker Highlights
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With the American League's second wild-card spot up for grabs, David Price's complete-game effort led the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-2 victory against the Texas Rangers in Arlington on Friday night.
Starting for the home team, rookie left-hander Martin Perez couldn't keep up. He loaded to bases in the first inning, and Delmon Young's sacrifice fly got the scoring started for Tampa Bay. Then, with two outs in the third, Evan Longoria drilled a two-run home run to cushion the lead.
That was enough support for Price. Despite career-long struggles against the Rangers, the lefty ace showed excellent poise and located 81 of 118 pitches for strikes. Manager Joe Maddon nearly signaled for right-hander Joel Peralta in the eighth inning, but decided to stick with the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner.
Wise decision. Price actually got better as the evening wore on, retiring 11 of the final 12 batters who came to the plate.
A combination of five Rangers relievers allowed two runs over three-and-two-third innings.
David DeJesus contributed a pinch-hit double that drove in Longoria in the top of the sixth. Sam Fuld added insurance with a stolen base in the ninth, as Tanner Scheppers' throw sailed into the outfield.
Texas' Nelson Cruz, fresh off a 50-game drug suspension, had virtually no impact. Starting at designated hitter, he was unable to exploit the platoon advantage versus Price, failing to reach base in all four of his plate appearances.
Price finishes the season tied for the American League lead with four complete games. DeJesus was only 1-for-23 in pinch-hitting situations before his clutch hit. Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier made his MLB debut as a late-inning defensive replacement.
Falling short in Game 163 means that this is the first time since 2009 that the Rangers didn't advance past the regular season.
The next challenge for Maddon's crew will be the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday as the 2013 playoffs officially get underway. The winner of that AL Wild Card Game goes on to face the Boston Red Sox in the best-of-five ALDS.
FINAL: TB 5, TEX 2
|1||Desmond Jennings||CF||1-3, BB, R|
|Sam Fuld||CF-RF||1-1, SB, R|
|2||Wil Myers||RF||0-2, 2 BB, K, R|
|3||Ben Zobrist||2B||1-5, 2 K|
|4||Evan Longoria||3B||3-4, K, 2B, HR, BB, 2 R, 2 RBI|
|5||Delmon Young||DH||0-3, SF, RBI|
|6||Sean Rodriguez||LF||0-2, 2 K|
|David DeJesus||PH-LF||1-2, 2B, RBI|
|7||James Loney||1B||0-3, K, BB|
|8||Yunel Escobar||SS||0-2, K, 2 BB|
|David Price (W, 10-8)||SP||9.0 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K|
|1||Ian Kinsler||2B||2-4, K, 2B, RBI|
|2||Elvis Andrus||SS||1-3, BB, SB, R|
|3||Alex Rios||RF||1-4, 2B, RBI|
|4||Adrian Beltre||3B||1-4, 2B|
|5||A.J. Pierzynski||C||0-4, K|
|6||Nelson Cruz||DH||0-4, K|
|8||Craig Gentry||LF||1-3, K, R|
|Martin Perez (L, 10-6)
||SP||5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K|
|Alexi Ogando||RP||0.2 IP, 2 H, ER, 2 BB|
|Jason Frasor||RP||0.2 IP, 2 BB|
|Joakim Soria||RP||0.1 IP|
|Neal Cotts||RP||1.0 IP, BB, K|
|Tanner Scheppers||RP||1.0, H, R, 0 ER, 2 K|
Despite the do-or-die circumstances, this wasn't technically a playoff game. So for the first time since 2009, the Texas Rangers aren't advancing beyond the regular season.
What does that mean for Ron Washington's job status?
Frustrating as the franchise might be feeling at the moment, significant changes to the coaching wouldn't solve anything. Considering the losses of Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli to free agency (and Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis to injury), the Rangers were fortunate to be so competitive.
"Nelson Cruz makes the final out," one longtime baseball man just texted. "The baseball gods are very real."— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) October 1, 2013
Price retired 11 of the last 12 Rangers he faced. Thanks to the length he gave the Rays, their bullpen will be back to full strength in time for the matchup with the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday at Progressive Field.
FINAL: TB 5, TEX 2
Grown men in Rays uniforms screaming hysterically and jumping up and down.
If somebody tore off Price's shirt, I bet we'd see an "S" on his chest. That was amazing.
Middle 9th: TB 5, TEX 2
I never liked the idea that a run is unearned if it scores on a pitcher's error.
Whatever. Rules are rules. Unearned run for Scheppers.
Top 9th: TB 5, TEX 2
Sam. Bleeping. Fuld.— Zachary D. Rymer (@zachrymer) October 1, 2013
Tanner Scheppers threw his high-90s fastball...into the outfield. Fuld sprinted toward third base while he wasn't paying attention, and Adrian Beltre couldn't get a glove on the fireball sent in his general vicinity.
David Price's defensive gem from the bottom of the eighth:
Proof that Desmond Jennings isn't at 100 percent—Sam Fuld took over in center field.
In his first plate appearance of the night, Fuld singled up the middle, raising his batting average to .199. Because baseball is "nutty" sometimes.
End 8th: TB 4, TEX 2
This is now officially nutty.— David Cameron (@DCameronFG) October 1, 2013
All indications were that Joe Maddon would lift his starter after seven innings. Instead, he stuck with him, even when the tying run came to the plate.
Price completes eight frames on 108 pitches.
Martin gets out on a soft liner to second base, but then Ian Kinsler revives the crowd. Rips a double down the right-field line and coasts into second.
Price still on the mound.
Whoa, never mind.
Price is going to face Martin, then pass the figurative baton.
Middle 8th: TB 4, TEX 2
Tampa Bay is going to trust Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney to record the final six outs.
Leonys Martin will lead off the inning, then the top of the Rangers lineup.
Cotts' fastball-slider combo is nasty like a gas station bathroom.
But he was trying to be too fine against Yunel Escobar. Got ahead in the count 0-2, ultimately walked him.
The nation can now get better acquainted with LHP Neal Cotts, who has been terrific after several years away from the majors:
- 57 appearances
- 1.13 ERA, 0.95 WHIP in 56.0 IP
- .433 OPS vs. RHB, .577 OPS vs. LHB
End 7th: TB 4, TEX 2
Meanwhile, David Price had no issues retiring three more Rangers. Only seven baserunners allowed through seven innings, 98 total pitches.
Young's line drive clearly landed in front of Martin. This expression says it all.
Middle 7th: TB 4, TEX 2
Leonys Martin continues to get lots of action in center field, this time diving in to rob Delmon Young of a potential run-scoring hit. Or at least that's what the umpires saw...
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