In a memorable wild-card tiebreaker, David Price showed why he is still among the best starting pitchers in the American League, as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Monday behind his complete game, 5-2.
Price grew stronger as the game progressed to go the distance for his tenth win of the season. The southpaw conceded just seven hits and one walk in nine innings against a Rangers squad that finished seventh in the Majors in runs against left-handers. Price also picked off baserunners Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler in the early innings.
"This was pretty special," said Price, who threw 118 pitches for his fourth complete game of the season. The reigning Cy Young winner added that he appreciated the confidence that manager Joe Maddon had in him to go nine innings.
After the final pitch, Price looked directly at third baseman Evan Longoria in celebration and appreciation, as opposed to his catcher, which is customary for a pitcher.
"He just told me that he had a dream about it," Longoria said. "It was awesome to feel that emotion from him. That's what an ace does; that's what a leader of a staff does. It was awesome to watch."
The effort from Price was the fifth straight time he has conceded two earned runs in an outing. He finished September with a 3.40 earned-run average, and a 3.33 ERA for the season.
It was an important way for Price to finish off the season, as he will almost certainly miss out on repeating as the American League Cy Young winner. The Detroit Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer are favorites, along with the Seattle Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakum and the Rangers’ Yu Darvish.
The Rays will face the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday at Progressive Field in the one-game wild-card game. Alex Cobb will start for the Rays against the Indians’ Danny Salazar.
An IB Times Staff Reporter contributed to this report.