Posted September 29, 2013 on
AP on Fox
After 162 regular-season games, the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers need one more to decide the second AL wild-card spot.
While the visiting Rays have the benefit of turning to reigning Cy Young Award winner David Price in their biggest game of the year, the Rangers are set to welcome back All-Star Nelson Cruz on Monday night.
The Rays (91-71) held on for a 7-6 win over Toronto and the Rangers (91-71) beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-2 on Sunday, forcing a one-game showdown for the right to face Cleveland - which overtook both teams and clinched its playoff spot with a season-ending 10-game win streak - in the wild-card game Wednesday.
"Hands down my biggest game of this year, night and day bigger than opening day," said Price, who struck out eight over seven innings of two-run ball in Wednesday's 8-3 win at Yankee Stadium. "This is a moment that I want to be in. I want to be able to relish this moment and go out there and have fun."
Price (9-8, 3.39 ERA), though, is 1-7 with a 5.57 ERA in 11 starts against Texas, including the postseason. He will face a Rangers team that won seven straight by a 46-19 margin to keep its playoff hopes alive.
"You can't say enough. Just the fight, the character of this team," said outfielder Craig Gentry, who is 17 for 36 (.472) with eight runs and 10 stolen bases in his last 10 games. "From being about as low as we could possibly be and almost everybody probably counting us out, and to come home and play the way we have."
Texas figures to be more formidable with Cruz back in action. The two-time All-Star and 2011 ALCS MVP completed his 50-game suspension for his role in Major League Baseball's Biogenesis investigation and will be activated for this game.
Cruz went 9 for 27 with a homer, five doubles and nine RBIs in eight games while playing in the instructional league in Arizona. He batted .269 with 27 homers and 76 RBIs in 108 games prior to his ban.
"I'll have a chance (Monday) to be with me teammates and do the thing I love the most, play baseball," he said. "The guys are excited. I'm excited."
Texas, which took four of seven from the Rays, beat them in the division series in 2010 and 2011.
"We have something to prove in Texas," said Rays third baseman Evan Longoria, hitting .360 with two homers and nine RBIs in his last six games. "We've left that place too many times with our heads down and disappointed. I feel like now is the time to be able to turn that page."
While Price has struggled against the Rangers, the Rays are confident in their ace. He is 6-2 with a 2.71 ERA in 10 road starts since July 2.
"You can't not feel good about it," Longoria said of giving the ball to Price. "He's the guy that I think everybody in this room looks to when we need somebody to go out and give us a great performance."
Cruz is 9 for 21 with three homers lifetime off Price, including playoffs, and Alex Rios is 10 for 23 with five extra-base hits.
Texas counters with rookie Martin Perez (10-5, 3.55), who is eager to prove himself with the season on the line.
"I'm excited, but I don't want to put any pressure on myself or get nervous," he told MLB's official website. "I just need to relax and take it as another game."
Perez surrendered three runs and struck out a career high-tying eight over seven innings to beat Houston 7-3 on Wednesday, improving to 1-2 with a 4.13 ERA in his last four starts.
The left-hander allowed two solo homers in five-plus innings of relief in a 6-0 loss at Tampa Bay on Sept. 9, 2012, his only appearance versus the Rays.
BEST OF MAXIM
On Monday night, the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Texas Rangers 5-2 to advance to a Wild Card game with the Cleveland Indians. Tampa Bay battled the last month of the season to secure a spot in the Wild Card game, but were forced to play their 163rd game of the season against the Rangers to decide.
David Price (Photo credit: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
David Price threw a complete...
The 2013 New York Yankees season might be officially and pathetically over, but the most exciting time in baseball starts tonight with a sudden-death game in the American League wild-card playoff.
Rays vs. Rangers Game 4 (Photo credit: kthypryn)
As the Texas Rangers will host the Tampa Bay Rays tonight in a one-game playoff to decide who wins the second AL wild-card spot.
From last year until forever, maybe, one-game playoffs are going to be a part of our postseason viewing reality. Entire seasons are going to come down to nine-inning snapshots, meaning everything’s going to ride on winning those nine innings. One of the best ways to maximize win probability is to be aggressive with the bullpen. To be aggressive with getting it involved, and to...
On Sunday, Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels confirmed that outfielder Nelson Cruz will be activated for Monday’s tie-breaker game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Cruz completed his 50-game suspension for the use of performance-enhancing drugs in Sunday’s season finale. While Cruz will be on the roster, it will be up to manager Ron Washington whether or not the 33-year-old...
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nelson Cruz, who completed his 50-game suspension for PED use, will make his return to the Texas lineup tonight as the designated hitter in the American League tiebreaker game.
Cruz will bat sixth for the Rangers against Tampa Bay left-hander David Price.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Cruz, the Rangers designated outfielder Joey Butler for assignment...
The first person David Price looked for after pitching the Tampa Bay Rays into the playoffs was third baseman Evan Longoria.
Price yelled after the two locked eyes, and they embraced to start the celebration.
"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...
Nelson Cruz is back in the lineup at just the right time. The Rangers took on the Rays on Monday night in a tiebreaker game to send one of the two teams to the playoffs in the Wild Card spot.
Cruz was back in the No. 6 spot in the batting order after serving a 50-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal, and the home crowd in Arlington welcomed...
David Price's complete-game effort and Evan Longoria's three hits led the way in the Rays' 5-2 win over the Rangers in the American League tiebreaker game on Monday night at Rangers Ballpark.
The Rays finished their 163-game regular season with 92 wins which proved to be enough to send them to the playoffs for the fourth time in six years.
And after losing twice to...
The Texas Rangers, who have been without slugger Nelson Cruz while he was serving a 50-game suspension, will activate him in time for tonight's tiebreaker game against the Tampa Bay Rays.
As reported by T.R. Sullivan and Master Tesfatsion of MLB.com, Cruz accepted a 50-game suspension by Major League Baseball in August
for violation of the Basic Agreement and its Joint...
Welcome to the postseason, Tampa Bay Rays.
The Rays clinched a playoff berth for the fourth time in six years in a workmanlike 5-2 victory over the host Texas Rangers on Monday night in the American League wild-card tiebreaker. Left-hander David Price was the day's star, but Evan Longoria proved big as well as an offensive threat in Tampa Bay's top win of the season so far...
Nelson Cruz’s 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs has come to an end and he will be on the Texas Rangers’ active roster Monday for their tiebreaking game against Tampa Bay to determine the second American League wild-card team.
But only manager Ron Washington knows for sure if the outfielder will be in the lineup as the Rangers try to push themselves into...
Major League Baseball's investigation of the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic had an impact on the 2013 season, with 14 players suspended and 13 of them serving their penalties. It will have a lingering effect on the postseason.
Five things to know about Biogenesis and postseason baseball:
CRUZ CONTROL: Outfielder Nelson Cruz completed his 50-game suspension on Sunday, and Texas...
Evan Longoria and David Price might not remain teammates for long,
but they put the Rays in the playoffs with stellar performances
The Tampa Bay Rays were able to go into Texas and take away the one game play-off behind the strength of a complete game by David Price. There is little question that the better team won, despite both teams being tied going into the game. The Rangers benefited greatly by playing in the AL West against two of the worst teams in all of baseball. In total, the Rangers went 53-23 against...
The final ticket to the Major League Baseball postseason was punched last night as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Texas Rangers, 5-2. Tampa will now move on to play Cleveland Indians Wednesday at Progressive Field at 8:07pm ET on TBS in the American League Wild Card Game.
Rays pitcher David Price and third baseman Evan Longoria led the Rays to the win. Price conquered the Rangers...