When a team is in need of a big win, it looks to its best players, the ones who have been in those situations before, to lead the way.
In Monday’s AL tiebreaker to determine the second Wild Card team, Tampa Bay got those much-needed performances out of David Price and Evan Longoria as the Rays defeated the Texas Rangers 5-2.
Price went the distance, giving up two runs on seven hits, striking out four and walking just one. He finished with 118 pitches, 81 of which were for strikes.
Longoria put a jolt into the Rays in the third inning when he hit a two-run homer to right-center off Rangers starter Martin Perez. Longoria would finish the game 3-for-4 with two RBI, a walk and two runs scored.
The Rays made it 4-1 on a David DeJesus double in the sixth, but the Rangers cut that score to 4-2 in the bottom of the inning.
In the ninth inning, Sam Fuld stole third, causing Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers to throw the ball away, allowing Fuld to score and push the Rays’ lead to 5-2.
Price set down the side in order in the ninth to get the victory and finish the season 10-8.
And, perhaps as a sign of poetic justice, Nelson Cruz was the last out of the game.