The Rays will take the second American League wild card, meaning they will be off to Cleveland for Wednesday’s Wild Card Playoff against the Indians. The Rangers, meanwhile, have seen their season end, missing the postseason for the first time since 2009. Tampa Bay, who ironically were eliminated from the playoffs in their last two appearances (2010 and 2011) by Texas, are back in after a one-year absence.
Rays starting pitcher David Price went the distance, going all nine innings in the clinching victory. Martin Perez took the loss for Texas.
Tampa Bay led the game the entire way, taking the lead in the top of the first on a Delmon Young sacrifice fly, then adding to it in the third with an Evan Longoria two-run homer.
Ian Kinsler doubled in a run for the Rangers in the bottom of the third to make it a 3-1 ballgame, but in the sixth, the Rays got the run back on a David DeJesus RBI double. Alex Rios got that run back for Texas in the bottom half of that inning. Tampa Bay stole an insurance run in the ninth after a steal of third and a throwing error to make it 5-2.
This has to be a major disappointment for Texas, who a little over one month ago had a two and a half game lead in the AL West. The Rangers, who thereafter fell apart, had to sweep Houston and the Angels to end the season just to get back into this tiebreaker game, but the Rays proved the better team and once again, the Rangers could not protect their home field in a one-game playoff.
Tampa Bay at Cleveland will be a fun game between two hot, tenacious teams.