News

Rays beat Rangers, claim last wildcard spot

Rays beat Rangers, claim last wildcard spot

PLAYOFFS: The Tampa Bay Rays clench the last berth in the MLB postseason. Photo: Reuters

(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.

“This was pretty special,” said Price, who said the pick-offs of Andrus and Ian Kinsler probably saved him about 10 pitches and helped him go the distance on 118 pitches.

SURGING START

Rays manager Joe Maddon left Price in to finish the job, rather than go to his usual late-inning, one-two punch of set-up man Joel Peralta and closer Fernando Rodney.

“He just let me go and I appreciate it,” said Price, who was mobbed at the mound in the Rays’ celebration.

Tampa Bay surged from the start, scoring on a sacrifice fly by Delmon Young in the first inning for a 1-0 lead, and Longoria sent a low fastball from Perez over the wall in right-center for a two-run homer and a 3-0 lead in the third.

Kinsler’s bloop single scored Craig Gentry in the bottom of the third to cut the advantage to 3-1.

A double by Longoria in the sixth led to another run when pinch-hitter David DeJesus doubled him home to make it 4-1.

Again, the Rangers answered, making it 4-2 on Alex Rios’s booming double high off the wall in left-center scored Andrus.

Tampa Bay should have padded their lead in the seventh but the umpires ruled that Texas center-fielder Leonys Martin made a diving catch of Young’s fly ball as Rays runners were rounding the bases, though replays showed he had trapped it.

The Rays got their insurance run in the top of the ninth when Sam Fuld surprised reliever Tanner Scheppers by breaking for third and drawing a wild throw from the reliever that allowed him to scamper home for the final run.

The game saw the return of Texas slugger Nelson Cruz, who had 27 homers and 76 RBIs before he was hit with a 50-game drug suspension. He was a non-factor, going 0-for-4 as the designated hitter.

“I’m disappointed. We didn’t get it done,” said Rangers manager Ron Washington, whose team missed out on the postseason for the first time since 2009. “I’ve got no excuse for that.”

Recent Headlines

in Local Sports

M’s send Montgomery to Tacoma, Guaipe called up

Fresh
marinersmontgomery

The Mariners wrap up their series vs. the White Sox in Chicago today. First pitch is scheduled for 11:10AM onKPUG 1170AM.

in Local Sports

WWU Soccer: women falls in OT, men get a tie

western washington logo generic copy/wwu

The WWU women's soccer team falls in OT to UBC in exhibition while the men tie Whitworth, 1-1, aslo in an exhibition game.

in Sports

Falcons announce 5-year contract extension for Julio Jones

Julio Jones #11 plays during an NFL football game between the Cleveland Browns and the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014, in Atlanta

The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to a five-year contract extension with Julio Jones that is expected to rank with recent deals paid to other top wide receivers.

in Sports

Little League World Series championship match-up is set

llws via ap twitter

Lewisberry, Pennsylvania will take on Tokyo, Japan in the Little League World Series championship game.

in Local Sports

Hauschka kicks 60-yard field goal to gives Seahawks win

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) looks to pass as Marshawn Lynch (24) blocks against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz.

Steven Hauschka kicked a 60-yard field goal with 16 seconds left to give the Seattle Seahawks a victory over the San Diego Chargers on Saturday night.