The first person David Price looked for after pitching the Tampa Bay Rays into the playoffs was third baseman Evan Longoria.
Price yelled after the two locked eyes, and they embraced to start the celebration.
"He just told me that he had a dream about it," Longoria said. "It was awesome to feel that emotion from him. That's what an ace does, that's what a leader of a staff does. It was awesome to watch."
Price, Longoria and the Tampa Bay Rays are going to playoffs again, getting there with a victory in their final regular-season game for the second time in three years. They needed an extra game this time.
Price pitched his fourth complete game this year, Longoria hit a two-run homer and the Rays beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 in the AL wild-card tiebreaker game Monday night, the 163rd game for both teams.
When Price woke up Monday, all he could think about was throwing a complete game, then getting that last out and turning straight to Longoria.
"You're probably supposed to go to your catcher first, but for what he's done for us and what he's done for me personally," Price said. "I think about that type of stuff before I pitch all the time, but for it to happen today. I didn't want to text him when I thought about it. I didn't want to jinx it."
Luckily for manager Joe Maddon and the Rays, they weren't done in by another blown call in Texas - though this one did cost them at least one run.
The Rays face another must-win situation Wednesday night at Cleveland in the AL wild-card game, Tampa's third game in three cities in a four-day stretch. The winner faces Boston in the division series.
Price (10-8), the reigning AL Cy Young winner, had a 10.26 ERA in four previous starts at Rangers Ballpark. He was superb in this one, striking out four and walking one. He picked off two runners while allowing seven hits and throwing 81 of 118 pitches for strikes.
"If I don't get those two outs on the pickoff moves, I have to get the next guys out," Price said. "It forces me to throw at least 10 more pitches."
Longoria had three hits, continuing his stellar play in the last game of regular seasons. He is hitting .579 (11 for 19) in those finales with seven homers and 10 RBIs, according to STATS.
"I wish I could explain it," he said. "I wish I could bottle it up and take it through 161 games and not have it be on the last day."
Texas had won seven in a row, needing every one just to force the majors' first wild-card tiebreaker since 2007.
Even with the return of All-Star slugger Nelson Cruz from his 50-game drug suspension, the Rangers missed a chance to get to the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
"I'm disappointed. We didn't get it done," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I've got no excuse for that."
Cruz, who had 27 homers and 76 RBIs in 108 games before his suspension, was 0 for 4 with a strikeout while hitting sixth as the designated hitter. His groundout to shortstop ended the game.
The Rays had runners at first and second with two outs in the seventh when Delmon Young, who put the Rays ahead to stay with a sacrifice fly in the first, hit a soft flyball.
Center fielder Leonys Martin made a running, diving attempt for a catch. Replays showed clearly that the ball bounced into Martin's glove; left field umpire Bruce Dreckman, looking at the play from the side, ruled it an inning-ending catch.
Young rounded first base with his arms spread out signaling safe. Maddon went out to talk to Dreckman, though the conversation didn't appear heated.
"Thankfully, it didn't come back to bite us," Longoria said.
When the Rays played at Texas on April 8, their 5-4 loss ended when plate umpire Marty Foster called a third strike against Ben Zobrist on a pitch low and outside. The ump later admitted the 2-2 curveball wasn't a strike and he wouldn't call that pitch a strike if he could do it again. The Texas win and closer Joe Nathan's 300th career save stood.
Maddon said after that game that such calls "can't be made in a Major League Baseball game." The Rays still had a runner on base and Longoria on deck when Zobrist was called out.
MLB intends to use expanded video review next year.
The Rangers had beaten Tampa Bay in the AL division series in 2010 and 2011 on way to their only two World Series. It was the second year in a row their season ended in a do-or-die game at home — they lost to Baltimore in the first AL wild-card game last October.