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    Rays 5, Rangers 2

    David Price goes distance as Rays win tiebreaker

    David Price, embraced by bench coach Dave Martinez, was sensational in pushing Tampa into the AL wild-card playoff game against Cleveland.
    David Price, embraced by bench coach Dave Martinez, was sensational in pushing Tampa into the AL wild-card playoff game against Cleveland.

    ARLINGTON, Texas — David Price, Evan Longoria, and the Tampa Bay Rays are going to playoffs again, getting there with a victory in their final regular-season game for the second time in three years.

    Price threw his fourth complete game of the season, Longoria had a two-run homer, and the Rays beat the Texas Rangers, 5-2, in the AL wild-card tiebreaker game Monday night, the 163d game for both teams.

    The Rays face another must-win situation Wednesday night at Cleveland in the AL wild-card game — the winner faces the Red Sox in the Division Series. Tampa Bay, in the playoffs for the fourth time in six years, won four of six from the Indians during the regular season.


    Price (10-8), the reigning AL Cy Young winner, had a 10.26 ERA in four starts at Rangers Ballpark. He was superb in this one, striking out four and walking one. He picked off two runners while allowing seven hits and throwing 81 of 118 pitches for strikes. The 28-year-old lefthander reached 10 wins for the fifth straight year.

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    ‘‘When you can get outs without throwing pitches that’s always huge,’’ Price said. ‘‘If I don’t get those two outs on the pickoff moves, I have to get the next guys out. It forces me to throw at least 10 more pitches.’’

    Longoria had three hits, continuing his stellar play in the last game of regular seasons. He is hitting .579 (11 for 19) in those finales with seven homers and 10 RBIs, according to STATS.

    Texas had won seven in a row, needing every one of those wins just to force the majors’ first wild-card tiebreaker since 2007.

    Even with the return of All-Star slugger Nelson Cruz from his 50-game drug suspension, the Rangers missed a chance to get to the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.


    ‘‘I'm disappointed. We didn’t get it done,’’ Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ‘‘I've got no excuse for that.’’

    Cruz, who had 27 homers and 76 RBIs in 108 games before his suspension, was 0 for 4 with a strikeout while hitting sixth as the designated hitter. His grounder to short ended the game.

    The Rays had runners at first and second with two outs in the seventh when Delmon Young, who put the Rays ahead to stay with a sacrifice fly in the first, hit a soft fly ball. Center fielder Leonys Martin made a running, diving play to catch the ball. Replays showed clearly that the ball bounced into Martin’s glove, but third base umpire Ron Kulpa ruled it a catch.

    Desmond Jennings had a leadoff walk in the third, and there were two outs before Longoria hit a drive to right-center that landed in the Rangers bullpen.

    Rookie lefty Martin Perez (10-6) settled down after that, but reliever Alexi Ogando gave up a sixth-inning double to Longoria, who scored on a pinch-hit double by David DeJesus.


    Tampa added a run in the ninth when Sam Fuld took off for third base. Reliever Tanner Scheppers threw wildly to third base, allowing Fuld to score.