Monday, September 30, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Rays 5, Rangers 2
By Todd Wills
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers' charge to the playoffs at the end of the season was stopped by the team they eliminated from the postseason in 2010 and 2011, the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays outplayed the Rangers on Monday night in the American League wild-card tiebreaker game for a 5-2 victory at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Tampa Bay got the clutch home run, ran the bases better and played a flawless game in the field to move on to Wednesday's AL wild-card game against the Cleveland Indians.
Oh no, Longo: The Rays' Evan Longoria is at his best late in the season. He did it again Monday night, giving the Rays a 3-0 lead in the top of the third with a long two-run home run to right-center field that just got over the glove of Leonys Martin. Longoria also had a one-out double in the top of the sixth and scored on pinch hitter David DeJesus's RBI single to give the Rays a 4-1 lead.
Rangers get on board: Craig Gentry led off the bottom of the third with a single. With Gentry running, Martin grounded out to third base to give the Rangers a runner in scoring position. Ian Kinsler then lined a single into center field to cut the Rays' lead to 3-1.
Rios comes through: Alex Rios continued his torrid play late in the season, scolding a double off the left-field fence to score Elvis Andrus and cut the Rays' lead back to two runs at 4-2.
Baserunning mistakes: The Rangers upped their season total to a brutal 111 outs on the bases by getting picked off first base twice by David Price, who isn't known for having a great move. First, it was Andrus in the bottom of the first after drawing a one-out walk. After Kinsler drove in the Rangers' first run, he got picked off first base on a nice move by Price.
Perez's night: Rookie Martin Perez made his first postseason start, and while it wasn't the exact result he was looking for, he did keep the Rangers in the game for the first five innings. Perez allowed four runs in 5⅓ innings and was taken out after 74 pitches for Alexi Ogando, who gave up the single to DeJesus to give the Rays a three-run lead.
Leonys gets the call: The Rangers were the recipients of a very gracious call from left-field umpire Bruce Dreckman with two outs in the top of the seventh. With two runners on, Delmon Young sent a sinking line drive into center field that Martin made a diving attempt for in front of him. The ball actually one-hopped its way into Martin's glove, but Dreckman made the out call much to the chagrin of Rays manager Joe Maddon.
Cruz's night: Nelson Cruz played for the first time since his 50-game suspension and went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. Cruz almost changed the direction of the game in the second inning. With the Rangers trailing 1-0 and Adrian Beltre on second after a leadoff double, Cruz worked a 2-2 count and hit a screaming line drive that Rays first baseman James Loney snared. Cruz led off the bottom of the fifth with a grounder to third. He led off the seventh with a swinging strikeout on a full count.
Price goes nine: Price finally got over his curse of the Rangers. He worked a strong complete game and allowed two runs. Price came into the start with an 0-3 postseason record and a 10.26 ERA at Rangers Ballpark. But he had none of that on Monday night. Yes, he got a favorable strike zone from plate umpire Jeff Kellogg, who did have an impact on the game, but Price took advantage of it and allowed six hits and walked only one.