2013 American League Wild Card tie-breaker game

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2013 American League Wild Card tie-breaker game
Teams
Date September 30, 2013
Venue Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
City Arlington, Texas
Umpires Tim Welke (crew chief), Jeff Kellogg, Bruce Dreckman, Chris Guccione, Tom Hallion, Ron Kulpa
Attendance 42,796
Television TBS
TV announcers Brian Anderson, John Smoltz and Joe Simpson

The 2013 American League Wild Card tie-breaker game was a one-game extension to Major League Baseball's (MLB) 2013 regular season, played between the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays to determine the second participant in the 2013 American League (AL) Wild Card Game. It was played at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on September 30, 2013. The Rays defeated the Rangers, 5–2, and advanced to the AL Wild Card Game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, which they won 4–0; the Rangers failed to qualify for the postseason.

The tie-breaker game was necessary after both teams finished the season with win–loss records of 91–71 and thus tied for the second Wild Card position in the AL. The Rangers were awarded home field for the game, as they won the regular season series against the Rays, four-games-to-three. The game was televised on TBS.[1] It was the fourth tie-breaker in MLB history for a Wild Card spot, although it was the first since MLB adopted its current format of two Wild Card teams playing in a Wild Card Game in 2012. In baseball statistics, the tie-breaker counted as the 163rd regular season game for both teams, with all events in the game added to regular season statistics.

Background[edit]

In Major League Baseball the two teams with the best record in each league who do not win a division play in the Wild Card Game. A number of teams were in competition for these Wild Card spots, along with their divisional competition. The Rangers spent over 80 days leading the American League West and shared the lead as late as September 4.[2] The Rays spent only a few days leading the American League East, but held a share of the lead as late as August 24.[3] The Cleveland Indians did not lead the American League Central after July 2 but remained close throughout the season and ultimately finished just a single game back of the Central champion Detroit Tigers.[4]

Although other teams including the Kansas City Royals, Baltimore Orioles, and New York Yankees had vied for a Wild Card spot, the Indians, Rangers, and Rays all remained in contention until the end of the season. Entering the final day of the scheduled regular season, on which all three teams played, the Indians had a 91–70 record while both the Rangers and Rays had 90–71 records.[5] These were the best non-division-leading records in the American League.[5] Thus, the possibility existed (had the Indians lost and the Rays and Rangers won) for a three-way tie for the two Wild Card spots, which would have required several tie-breaker games to settle.[6] However, all three teams won, leaving the Indians definitively in the Wild Card Game at 92–70 and the Rays and Rangers tied at 91–71 for the second spot.[7]

The Indians finished the season strong, winning their last 10 games to clinch their Wild Card berth.[4] The Rays were 16–12 in September, winning 8 of their last 10.[3] The Rangers were just 12–15 in September, although they also won eight of their final 10 games.[2] Home field advantage for the tie-breaker game was awarded to the Rangers, as they had won the season series against the Rays 4 games to 3.[8]

Game summary[edit]

A man in a gray and blue baseball uniform with the letters "TB" on his cap holds a baseball in his glove, preparing to throw.
Evan Longoria (pictured here in 2008) hit a two-run home run in the third inning
September 30, 2013 8:07 p.m. at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Tampa Bay Rays 1 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 1 5 7 0
Texas Rangers 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 2 7 1
WP: David Price (10–8)   LP: Martín Pérez (10–6)
Home runs:
TB: Evan Longoria (32)
TEX: None

Desmond Jennings opened the first inning with a single, but was thrown out at second base trying to stretch the hit into a double. Wil Myers then walked, advanced to third base on singles by Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria, and finally scored on a sacrifice fly by Delmon Young. Rays starter David Price struck out leadoff batter Ian Kinsler, then allowed a walk to Elvis Andrus but picked him off and finished the inning by retiring Alex Ríos. The score remained 1–0 until the top of the third inning, when Jennings drew a walk and scored on a home run by Longoria to give the Rays a 3–0 lead. The Rangers struck right back in the bottom half, as Craig Gentry led off the inning with a single. After advancing to second on a Leonys Martin groundout, he scored on a single to right field by Kinsler. The Rays scored again in the sixth, as Longoria doubled to lead off the inning, and advanced to third base on a groundout by Young. The next batter, David DeJesus, hit a double to right field that scored Longoria and put the Rays ahead, 4–1. Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando entered the game with one out and recorded the final two outs to end the inning.[9]

After a single and a stolen base from Andrus, Ríos doubled in the bottom half of the sixth to cut the score to 4–2. A small controversy arose in the top of the seventh inning. Longoria and Myers were on first and second base respectively with two outs when Young hit a line drive to center field. Replays showed that the ball bounced into Leonys Martín's (the Rangers' center fielder) glove after hitting the ground, making it a trap and therefore should have been a hit.[10] However, the umpires ruled the play an out, ending the inning without a run scoring. Ultimately, the issue did not affect the outcome. The Rays added onto their lead in the ninth inning when Sam Fuld stole third and a scored on a throwing error from Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers, extending their lead to 5–2. Price closed the game in the ninth, recording three straight outs and finishing off a complete game.[9]

Aftermath[edit]

A man in gray pants, a blue baseball jersey with 'Rays' on the chest, and a blue baseball cap is in the process of pitching a baseball with his left hand.
David Price (pictured here in the regular season) threw a complete game, the first in a tie-breaker since 1999.

David Price recorded the first complete game in a tie-breaker game since Al Leiter in 1999.[11] The game counted as a regular season game in baseball statistics. For example, Evan Longoria's third-inning home run broke Stan Musial's record for the most home runs in the last game of the season, setting the mark at seven.[12] He went 3-for-4 with a double, a home run, and two RBI in the game overall. This left him 11-for-19 with seven home runs and ten RBIs in season finales from 2009–2013.[12] Tampa Bay's win clinched the team's fourth post-season berth in franchise history.[13] The Rays played the Cleveland Indians in the American League Wild Card Game and advanced to the American League Division Series (ALDS) with a 4-0 win. However, the Rays lost to the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, 3 games to 1.[14]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ Berry, Adam (September 29, 2013). "Pulse: Tribe in as Rays, Rangers head to tiebreaker". MLB.com. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "2013 Texas Rangers Schedule, Box Scores, and Splits". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "2013 Tampa Bay Rays Schedule, Box Scores, and Splits". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "2013 Cleveland Indians Schedule, Box Scores, and Splits". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Standings on Saturday, September 28, 2013". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  6. ^ Jaffe, Jay (September 29, 2013). "Crunching the numbers on the AL three-way tie scenario". SI.CNN.com. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  7. ^ Shaikin, Bill (September 29, 2013). "MLB playoffs: Rays, Rangers to play Monday tiebreaker". latimes.com. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  8. ^ Miller, Jeff (September 29, 2013). "Rangers finish strong, force one-game playoff vs. Rays". usatoday.com. USA Today. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "September 30, 2013 Tampa Bay Rays at Texas Rangers Box Score and Play by Play". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved October 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ Oz, Mike (September 30, 2013). "Blown call on Delmon Young line drive costs Rays a run in AL tiebreaker game". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  11. ^ "David Price throws complete game as Rays beat Rangers in one-game playoff, face Indians next". New York Daily News. Associated Press. September 30, 2013. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Gonzalez, Alden (October 1, 2013). "Longoria delivers when it matters most". MLB.com. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Tampa Bay Rays Team History & Encyclopedia". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved September 30, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Red Sox rebound, push through Rays late to reach ALCS". ESPN. October 8, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2014.