David Price threw a complete game, allowing just seven hits and two runs in a 5-2 Rangers loss Monday in the tiebreaker for the second American League Wild Card spot.
The Rangers will miss the postseason for the first time since 2009 after winning the final seven games of the 162-game regular season.
"It's disappointing," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We made a run at the end [of the season], but we didn't get it done. And I don't have an excuse for that."
Rangers’ starter Martin Perez allowed just three runs in five-and-a-third innings, but Price won the battle of the southpaw starters in Arlington. Price threw 118 pitches over his nine innings of work, striking out four.
At the plate, Evan Longoria was the difference-maker for the Rays.
The Tampa Bay third baseman hit a two-run home run 380 feet into the Rangers’ bullpen in the third inning, giving him a major league record seven home runs in regular season finales. This is only Longoria’s sixth season in the majors.
Longoria added a one-out double off Alexi Ogando in the sixth, and came home one a two-out, pinch-hit double by David DeJesus.
"It didn't seem like anybody could nullify him," Washington said. "Tonight Longoria took that team on his back and did what he had to do."
Ogando relieved Perez with one out in the sixth. Monday was Ogando’s scheduled “throw day,” so he was available out of the bullpen.
Longoria had three hits, all to the opposite field. He reached base four times, as he worked a walk in the seventh.
The Rays got their first run on a Delmon Young sacrifice fly in the first inning. Perez pitched around three hits and a walk to escape with only one run allowed in the frame.
Price allowed only two earned runs in his fifth consecutive start.
Ian Kinsler hit a bloop single to center field in the third inning that scored Craig Gentry from second.
Alex Rios hit an RBI double off the top of the 14-foot wall in left field in the sixth inning, scoring Elvis Andrus. Andrus recorded a one-out single and stole second base before coming home on Rios’s smash.
Price entered Monday’s game with a 1-7 record and a 5.57 ERA against the Rangers. But he silenced the critics of those statistics Monday.
The Rays’ ace was dominant, and the Rangers couldn’t capitalize on the chances they did have. They went just 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Texas also had two runners picked off Monday.
Andrus, who earned the only walk issued by Price, was picked off in the first inning. Kinsler was picked off after his RBI single in the third.
"That's the way we play," Washington said. "And sometimes that's the result of it. We're a very aggressive team, and we never stop. They made plays to stop it."
Nelson Cruz went 0-for-3 in his return from a 50-game suspension.
The back end of the Rangers’ bullpen shut down the Tampa Bay offense, aided by a missed call on a diving play by Leonys Martin in center field. A ball off the bat of Delmon Young clearly bounced before landing in Martin’s glove, but it was ruled a catch to end a first-and-second threat in the seventh inning.
The Rays added an unearned run in the top of the ninth inning when Tanner Scheppers threw away a pickoff to third on a Sam Fuld stolen base. Fuld scored as the throw sailed into left field.
Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts and Joakim Soria combined for two scoreless innings before Scheppers surrendered the ninth-inning run.
When asked if there are positives to take away from the season, veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre struggled to find an answer.
"When you have your mind on the playoffs and winning the World Series, what else can you think about? For me, it's disappointing," Beltre said. "I take some of the blame. I didn't do enough to help us win.
"When you play a month under .500 and you have everybody in the hunt, it's not going to be good enough."
Tampa Bay will play Cleveland Wednesday in the AL Wild Card game.