Evan Longoria finished a triple short of the cycle and David Price pitched a complete game to propel the Tampa Bay Rays into the American League Wild Card game with a 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday.
Longoria hit a two-run home run off of Rangers starter Martin Perez in the third inning to provide what ultimately was the deciding blow. The star third baseman also doubled and scored in the sixth and added an early single. He had two chances to complete the cycle, but drew a walk in the seventh and struck out in the ninth.
Price scattered seven hits and allowed a pair of runs, but did his best work late in the game after a controversial play went against the Rays.
With runners on first and second in the top of the seventh, Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin appeared to trap a blooper off the bat of Delmon Young, but the play was ruled a catch, turning what could have been another Tampa Bay run into an inning-ending out. The sold-out crowd in Arlington, Texas, was rocking, but Price shut down the Rangers' offense in the bottom half of the frame, retiring the side in order.
The following inning, Price overcame a one-out double by Ian Kinsler by inducing a pair of groundouts -- one of which was a bunt attempt by Elvis Andrus on which Price made an excellent play -- to keep the Rangers off the board. He retired the side in the ninth to finish off a complete game. Not bad for a guy who entered the game with a 5.98 ERA in eight career starts against Texas.