Tampa Bay Rays Beat Texas Rangers, Clinch Final AL Wild Card Spot

The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Texas Rangers in an AL Wild Card Tiebreaker Monday, earning a trip to the MLB postseason.

David Price took the mound for the Rays and he was absolutely dominant. Over nine innings, he struck out four and walked one. The Rangers managed to score two runs against him, but their efforts were not enough.

Martin Perez took the mound for Texas, and was finished after five innings and one out. He struck out five, walked two, and allowed three runs in a gritty effort that gave the Rangers a chance to win.

Leading 4-2 in the ninth, the Tampa Bay Rays got the insurance run they needed from Sam Fuld. He came in the game as a defensive replacement in the eighth, then led off the ninth inning with a hit.

Will Myers advanced Fuld to second on a fielder’s choice play, then Fuld caught the Rangers sleeping and stole third. A.J. Pierzynski’s throw to third missed the bag and Fuld ran home, stretching the lead to 5-2.

Now, the Tampa Bay Rays return to October baseball for the fourth time in the last six seasons. The team’s payroll might be small, but the players have heart.

The Texas Rangers will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season. The AL Wild Card Tiebreaker was the second in a row the Rangers lost. Last season, they faced the Baltimore Orioles, only to watch Baltimore celebrate while they went home looking ahead to 2013.

The Tampa Bay Rays win was highlighted by David Price’s best start of the season, possibly his career. There are few bigger stages to pitch on than a single game elimination, and the Rays needed Price to pitch a gem Monday to win.

Do you think the Rays have what it takes to go deep in the postseason?

[image via Wikimedia Commons]