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Rays' Price ready for spotlight in tiebreaker game

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Published:   |   Updated: September 30, 2013 at 01:19 PM

TORONTO — The Tampa Bay Rays' David Price has fared well against plenty of teams, just not the Texas Rangers.

Yet, the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner is excited to start tonight's game (8:07 p.m., TBS) on the road against the Rangers with the winner advancing to Wednesday's AL wild-card game in Cleveland.

“That's a situation I dreamed of as a little kid — it might not be a play-in game to get to the postseason, but it's usually bottom of ninth, bases loaded, two outs, something like that, I always envision myself being in that big moment,” Price said. “And (tonight) it'll be the biggest game of the year for us, biggest game of the year for Texas as well, so come out (tonight) and throw my game.”

Price is 1-4 with a 5.98 ERA in eight career starts against the Rangers. That includes a 1-2 record with a 10.26 ERA at Rangers Ballpark. It doesn't include Price's 0-3 record in two postseasons against Texas.

“Texas has been a team that has played us extremely tough,” Price said. “They've hit me extremely well. I guess my last start against Texas was my only win against them, so that's good, it's a lot of confidence for myself to go out there.”

Evan Longoria said the Rays are confident in Price.

“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,” Longoria said. “I know he couldn't be more excited. He couldn't be happier to be given the opportunity to be on the mound, and he above all people probably feels like he has something to prove against those guys.”

Rays manager Joe Maddon said Price was his usual confident, “be-booping” self Sunday, which he said bodes well for tonight.

“I know he's ready to go,” Maddon said. “So that's what it's going to be about, how well we pitch against them in the beginning and take it from there.”

The Rangers will counter with left-hander Martin Perez (10-5, 3.55 ERA). This is Perez's first start this season against the Rays; in one career start against Tampa Bay, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA.

rmooney@tampatrib.com

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