|Tampa Bay (88-71) «||2||0||0||1||2||0||0||0||1||6||9||0|
|Chi. White Sox (83-76)||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||5||0|
CHICAGO -- Manager Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays have been down this road before. Almost out of the race for a playoff spot, yet fighting to the end.
That approach worked a year ago when the Rays staged a stunning final-game rally to beat the Yankees and win the AL wild card. Now, after downing the fading White Sox on Sunday with David Price getting his 20th win, the Rays still have a chance to make the postseason.
|More on Rays-White Sox|
|More MLB coverage|
"It's always about maintaining a slight mathematical chance. We were in the same boat last year. It could become a little bit better with some cooperation, but either way we just have to go home and play our game," Maddon said Sunday after his team's 6-2 victory.
Tampa Bay has played its best ball at the right time, winning 10 of 11 to stay in the race for the second wild card.
"That's 10 out of 11 at this time of the year, under these circumstances where you can't hiccup. Our guys have been outstanding. Everybody. Pitching, hitting, coaching staff ... they've all been great," Maddon said.
And no one is a bigger fan of the second wild card implemented this season than Tampa Bay's manager. The Rays entered the day three games behind Oakland for that second wild card.
"I really love the competition. I think it's great," Madden said. "My hat's off to these other teams, I think it's great. It's good for baseball. The two wild card system seems to be working this year. Mission accomplished."
The Rays go home to play the Orioles, who are tied with the Yankees for the AL East lead. And Oakland is at home against Texas to wrap up the season.
Chicago's chances are pretty much mission impossible. They White Sox have lost 10 of 12 and fallen three games behind Detroit with three to go. Chicago's hope: win three straight in Cleveland and root for the Royals to sweep the Tigers in Kansas City, forcing a one-game tiebreaker Thursday.
"Obviously we're up against it now, but we'll continue to play," Chicago's Paul Konerko said. "That's what we do and what we've done all year. It doesn't look good obviously. ... You never know what can happen. The main thing is to get us in order and go win a ball game tomorrow."
The White Sox held at least a share of the lead from July 24 until Wednesday and had not been this far back since late May. Their starting pitching has come up short and they have hit .153 (13 for 85) with runners in scoring position during the dozen-game slide.
"We didn't play good enough. The effort was there. The work was there. Everything was there. We just didn't get it done," White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.
Price (20-5) improved to 12-1 with a 2.26 ERA in his last 18 starts, allowing two runs and five hits in seven innings. He became the fourth 20-game winner of the season, joining Washington's Gio Gonzalez (21-8), the New York Mets' R.A. Dickey (20-6) and the Los Angeles Angels' Jered Weaver (20-4).
"We still have a chance to get in with a good series against Baltimore ... We need a little help from Texas, but we have to continue to win and hopefully we get back in like last year," said Price, the first 20-game winner in Tampa Bay history.
Asked who he would vote for if he could cast a ballot for the AL Cy Young, Price wasn't shy.
"I would vote for myself," he said.
And Maddon agreed with his ace lefty.
"The 20 wins, he should have like 25 wins," Maddon said. "He's pitched well enough to have mid-20s based on our lack of scoring runs sometimes. The ERA is highly impressive, pitching in this division, this league, the DH. ... It all matters. To be able to accomplish that here is quite an accomplishment."
"You know you pretty much have to win them all," Upton said, sizing up the Rays' chances.
Upton's leadoff double in the fifth finished Quintana, who allowed four runs and six hits in four innings. Evan Longoria hit an RBI double and Ben Francisco added a sacrifice fly off reliever Nate Jones to make it 5-2. Upton homered again in the ninth against Addison Reed.
|David Price beats the White Sox to keep the Rays in the wild-card hunt and to also become the franchise's first 20-game winner. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, LF||4||1||2||0||1||1||1||.249|
|B.J. Upton, CF||5||3||3||3||0||0||3||.247|
|Ben Zobrist, SS||3||1||0||0||2||0||1||.271|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||5||0||2||1||0||1||1||.285|
|Jeff Keppinger, 1B||3||0||0||0||1||0||3||.328|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.199|
|Luke Scott, DH||2||0||0||0||2||2||1||.231|
|Ben Francisco, RF||2||0||0||1||0||0||0||.243|
|a- Matt Joyce, PH-RF||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.244|
|Ryan Roberts, 2B||4||1||1||1||0||1||2||.237|
|Chris Gimenez, C||3||0||1||0||1||2||0||.239|
|Jose Molina, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.223|
|a-struck out for Francisco in the 7th|
|2B - B.J. Upton (28, Quintana), Evan Longoria (14, Jones)|
|3B - Desmond Jennings (7, Quintana)|
|HR - B.J. Upton 2 (28, Quintana, Reed), Ryan Roberts (11, Quintana)|
|SF - Ben Francisco (1)|
|RBI - B.J. Upton 3 (78), Evan Longoria (52), Ben Francisco (14), Ryan Roberts (51)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ryan Roberts (23)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Gimenez-Roberts|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|David Price (W,20-5)||7||5||2||2||2||4||0||2.56|
|Joel Peralta (H,37)||1||0||0||0||1||2||0||3.53|
|HBP - Pierzynski (by David Price)|
|Pitches-Strikes - David Price 109-72, Joel Peralta 26-16, Fernando Rodney 12-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Price 12-3, Fernando Rodney 1-0|
|Batters Faced - David Price 27, Joel Peralta 4, Fernando Rodney 3|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Dewayne Wise, CF||2||0||1||0||2||0||0||.260|
|Kevin Youkilis, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||3||3||.236|
|Adam Dunn, DH||4||0||0||0||0||3||2||.204|
|Paul Konerko, 1B||4||1||2||0||0||0||1||.297|
|Alex Rios, RF||3||0||1||1||1||0||1||.303|
|A.J. Pierzynski, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.276|
|Dayan Viciedo, LF||2||0||0||1||0||0||1||.250|
|a- Orlando Hudson, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.198|
|Alexei Ramirez, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||2||.266|
|Gordon Beckham, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.235|
|a-struck out for Viciedo in the 9th|
|SF - Dayan Viciedo (4)|
|RBI - Alex Rios (90), Dayan Viciedo (70)|
|CS - Dewayne Wise 2 (4, 2nd base by Price/Gimenez, 2nd base by Price/Gimenez)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Youkilis-Beckham-Konerko, Beckham-Konerko|
|Chicago White Sox|
|Jose Quintana (L,6-6)||4||6||4||4||3||3||2||3.76|
|IBB - Scott by Nate Jones|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jose Quintana 85-46, Nate Jones 45-21, Brett Myers 22-16, Addison Reed 15-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jose Quintana 4-4, Nate Jones 1-4, Brett Myers 1-1, Addison Reed 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Jose Quintana 20, Nate Jones 10, Brett Myers 7, Addison Reed 4|
|Attendance - 26831|
|Game Time - 3:06|
|Temperature - 64|
|Umpires - Home - Tom Hallion, First Base - Brian O'Nora, Second Base - Chad Fairchild, Third Base - Alfonso Marquez|