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Tampa Bay at Toronto

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Tampa Bay (91-71) «600100000790
Toronto (74-88)0000031206120

Rays hold off Toronto, will play in wild-card tiebreaker

CBSSports.com wire reports
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TORONTO -- Two familiar playoff foes will play a 163rd game to decide the second AL wild-card berth.

Evan Longoria and the Tampa Bay Rays assured themselves a tie for a wild-card berth, scoring six runs in the first inning and then holding off the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6 Sunday.

They headed for a Monday tiebreaker at the Texas Rangers, who beat the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday to finish 162 games even with the Rays at 91-71. The winner advances to Wednesday's wild-card playoff at Cleveland (92-70), which determines the team opening the division series at Boston two days later.

Texas beat the Rays in the division series in 2010 and 2011.

"We have something to prove in Texas," Longoria said. "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."

The Rays will give the ball to left-hander David Price (9-8), and Texas starts left-hander Martin Perez (10-5).

Price called it the kind of situation he dreamed about as a little kid.

"Hands down my biggest game of this year, night and day bigger than opening day," he said. "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."

Longoria said the Rays are confident knowing they'll play behind the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner.

"You can't not feel good about it," Longoria said. "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."

Rays manager Joe Maddon was equally confident.

"I love it, I absolutely love it," he said of Price. "I know he's motivated."

Texas will have Nelson Cruz active Monday. The All-Star outfielder on Sunday completed a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball that followed its investigation of the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic, which was accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.

Longoria said he wasn't bothered that Cruz is eligible.

"He's served his suspension," Longoria said. "It is what it is. Justice has been served."

Longoria hit an RBI double as the Rays used their highest-scoring first inning since 2010 to go ahead early. Tampa Bay took a 7-0 lead into the sixth before Toronto rallied.

Maddon was ejected in the seventh, and the Blue Jays had the go-ahead run at the plate in the eighth and ninth innings. Fernando Rodney got for four shaky outs for his 37th save in 45 chances.

"I've never been a part of anything like that," Rays rookie outfielder Wil Myers said. "Emotions were going up and down the whole game."

Tampa Bay is familiar with big rallies on the final day. In 2011, the Rays overcome a 7-0 deficit in the eighth and came back to beat the Yankees 8-7 in 12th to clinch a wild-card spot.

This time, the Rays almost let a huge lead slip away.

Maddon acknowledged thinking back to that 2011 game as the Blue Jays closed.

"I did think of that and it was really awkward," Maddon said, "but I thought this is different: We're looking through the windshield and not the rear-view mirror today."

Matt Moore (17-4) won consecutive starts for the first time in more than two months. He allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. Moore walked three, all in the first inning, and struck out four.

Blue Jays starter Todd Redmond (4-3) got just two outs. He had won his previous three decisions.

"It was a tough way for him to go out today," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "He's a lot better than that."

The Rays looked to have robbed much of the drama by batting around in the first. Jose Lobaton hit a two-run double and James Loney, Delmon Young and Yunel Escobar had RBI singles.

Tampa Bay made it 7-0 in the fourth when Myers hit an RBI double that eluded left fielder Kevin Pillar.

"We came out ready to play, man," Maddon said. "That was outstanding."

Toronto broke through against Moore in the sixth when Mark DeRosa hit a two-run double. Moore left after Ryan Langerhans singled, and reliever Jake McGee gave up a sacrifice fly to J.P. Arencibia.

The Blue Jays closed to 7-4 in the seventh on Brett Lawrie's double. Joel Peralta replaced McGee and walked Moises Sierra, loading the bases.

Maddon was ejected by plate umpire Paul Schrieber for arguing, but Peralta escaped when pinch-hitter Adam Lind grounded the first pitch into an inning-ending double play, with first baseman Loney making a superb catch on shortstop Escobar's low relay throw.

"He's done it all year," Maddon said. "He's been fabulous."

Peralta ran into trouble again in the eighth, leaving with two outs and runners at first and second. Rodney came on and gave up RBI singles to Jose Reyes and Anthony Gose, shaving Tampa Bay's lead to 7-6. Lawrie walked to load the bases before Rodney struck out Sierra.

Notes

It was the Rays' highest-scoring first inning since Sept. 10, 2010, when they also scored six in a game at Toronto. ... Toronto RHP Esmil Rogers pinch-ran for Lind (back) after Lind's leadoff single in the ninth. Rogers was forced at second on Langerhans' grounder. ... Maddon was ejected for the fifth time this season. ... The Blue Jays played a video tribute to LHP Darren Oliver, who is set to retire after 20 seasons. Players from both teams stood and applauded when Oliver took the mound to begin the seventh. ... Toronto drew 44,551 fans in their finale for a season total of 2,536,562, their highest since 1997.

 
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The Rays, fighting for the playoffs, hold on for dear life to edge the Blue Jays in a pivotal Game 162.  (USATSI)
The Rays, fighting for the playoffs, hold on for dear life to edge the Blue Jays in a pivotal Game 162. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Toronto

M. DeRosa
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Tampa Bay

D. Young
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
David DeJesus, CF-LF5000031 .249
Wil Myers, RF4121020 .295
James Loney, 1B4111001 .300
Evan Longoria, 3B4111010 .266
Ben Zobrist, 2B4000011 .275
Delmon Young, DH3121100 .263
Matt Joyce, LF3100112 .235
   Sam Fuld, CF0000000 .194
Jose Lobaton, C4112020 .249
Yunel Escobar, SS4121000 .257
Matt Moore, P0000000 .000
   Jake McGee, P0000000 .000
   Joel Peralta, P0000000 .000
   Fernando Rodney, P0000000 .000
Totals35797210  
Batting
2B - Wil Myers 2 (23, Redmond), Evan Longoria (38, Redmond), Jose Lobaton (15, Wagner)
RBI - Wil Myers (53), James Loney (75), Evan Longoria (86), Delmon Young (37), Jose Lobaton 2 (32), Yunel Escobar (56)
2-OUT RBI - Wil Myers (18), Delmon Young (18), Jose Lobaton 2 (14), Yunel Escobar (22)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Loney-Escobar, Loney-Escobar-Escobar-Loney
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Matt Moore (W,17-4) 5.1633340 3.29
Jake McGee 1211100 4.02
Joel Peralta (H,41) 1.1122210 3.41
Fernando Rodney (S,37) 1.1300120 3.38
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Moore 93-55, Jake McGee 28-19, Joel Peralta 20-10, Fernando Rodney 33-20
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Moore 7-4, Jake McGee 2-1, Joel Peralta 1-1, Fernando Rodney 1-1
Batters Faced - Matt Moore 24, Jake McGee 6, Joel Peralta 6, Fernando Rodney 8
Toronto Blue Jays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Reyes, SS4121100 .296
Anthony Gose, CF4021111 .259
Brett Lawrie, 3B3121201 .254
Moises Sierra, RF3110213 .290
Mark DeRosa, DH3122012 .235
   a-Adam Lind, PH-DH2010001 .288
   Esmil Rogers, PR-DH0000000 .000
Ryan Langerhans, 1B4110112 .273
J.P. Arencibia, C2001011 .194
   b-Munenori Kawasaki, PH1000001 .229
   Josh Thole, C1000011 .175
Ryan Goins, 2B5000013 .252
Kevin Pillar, LF4110000 .206
Todd Redmond, P0000000 .000
   Neil Wagner, P0000000 .000
   Luis Perez, P0000000 .000
   Chad Jenkins, P0000000 .000
   Jeremy Jeffress, P0000000 .000
   Darren Oliver, P0000000 .000
   Steve Delabar, P0000000 .000
   Sergio Santos, P0000000 .000
Totals36612677  
a-grounded into a double play for DeRosa in the 7th
b-popped out for Arencibia in the 8th
Batting
2B - Brett Lawrie (18, McGee), Mark DeRosa (12, Moore)
SF - J.P. Arencibia (2)
RBI - Jose Reyes (37), Anthony Gose (12), Brett Lawrie (46), Mark DeRosa 2 (36), J.P. Arencibia (55)
2-OUT RBI - Jose Reyes (7), Anthony Gose (6)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Anthony Gose 1
Toronto Blue Jays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Todd Redmond (L,4-3) 0.2455110 4.32
Neil Wagner 2211120 3.79
Luis Perez 1111010 5.40
Chad Jenkins 0.1100000 2.70
Jeremy Jeffress 2100020 0.87
Darren Oliver 1000020 3.86
Steve Delabar 1000000 3.22
Sergio Santos 1000020 1.75
Pitches-Strikes - Todd Redmond 29-17, Neil Wagner 34-17, Luis Perez 23-18, Chad Jenkins 8-6, Jeremy Jeffress 33-21, Darren Oliver 11-8, Steve Delabar 8-5, Sergio Santos 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Todd Redmond 1-0, Neil Wagner 1-2, Luis Perez 1-1, Chad Jenkins 1-0, Jeremy Jeffress 3-1, Steve Delabar 1-2, Sergio Santos 1-0
Batters Faced - Todd Redmond 7, Neil Wagner 8, Luis Perez 4, Chad Jenkins 2, Jeremy Jeffress 7, Darren Oliver 3, Steve Delabar 3, Sergio Santos 3
Game Information
Attendance - 44551
Game Time - 3:22
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Paul Schrieber, First Base - Jeff Kellogg, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Chad Fairchild