Rays work extra to top Rangers in 2016 finale

Rays work extra to top Rangers in 2016 finale

ARLINGTON -- The Rays scored two in the top of the 10th inning and held on for a 6-4 victory over the Rangers in the final regular season game for both teams on Sunday at Globe Life Park. It was also the last game to finish on the final day of the season.

Richie Shaffer started the game-winning rally for the Rays with a single to left off of losing pitcher Tanner Scheppers and moved to third on Alexei Ramirez's double to right-center. Shaffer scored on a wild pitch and a double by Curt Casali brought home Ramirez.

The Rangers trailed 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth, but three straight singles by Jared Hoying, Robinson Chirinos and Hanser Alberto tied the score against Rays closer Alex Colome. It was only the third blown save in 40 chances for Colome this season.

The loss left the Rangers with a record of 95-67, tying them with the 1999 Rangers for second most wins in a season. They won 96 games in 2011.

Alberto's game-tying single

"To reach 95 wins is significant," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I know a lot of people wanted us to get to 96 and 97 wins but the bottom line is we get to play on and play for a championship."

Rangers focused on winning, not ALDS opponent

The Rangers finished with the best record in American League and await the winner of the American League Wild Card Game between the Orioles and Blue Jays. That game will be Tuesday, with the Rangers hosting the winner on Thursday at Globe Life Park.

The Rays, despite winning their final two games, finish at 68-94, the second worst record in the American League and their worst since going 66-96 in 2007.

Ramirez notches the save

"Good win on the last day," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Long game, back and forth. But nice win."

The Rangers' club record of consecutive scoreless innings from their bullpen came to an end at 35 1/3 innings in the seventh. Jake Diekman allowed a two-out single to Alexei Ramirez, scoring Corey Dickerson. The Rangers were one out away from tying a franchise record, set by the Washington Senators in April 1969.

Ramirez's RBI single

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Beltre and Andrus reach .300: Adrian Beltre was lifted in the fourth, after singling in the second and flying out to right in the third, ending his season with an average of exactly .300. Beltre reached the mark for the sixth time in his career and fourth with the Rangers. Beltre was not taken out of the game until after he went to third base in between the fourth and fifth innings, as he received a large ovation while jogging off the field. Elvis Andrus was taken out of the game in the sixth, after going 0-for-3. He still finished the season with a career-high average of .302. He's the first Rangers shortstop to hit at least .300 since Michael Young in 2007.

"He beat by a couple points," Beltre said of Andrus. "But that's one thing I take pride in, trying to hit .300 every year. I know it doesn't happen every year but it's something that I like to do."

Beltre gets a standing ovation

Starting again: Chase Whitley made his first start since May 14, 2015, while pitching for the Yankees against the Rays. So 506 days had passed since he last started a Major League game, with Tommy John surgery and rehab in between. The right-hander showed well, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out four in four innings.

"It was awesome just to be back out there," Whitley said. "Just very thankful, very blessed."

Whitley's fancy stop

Gamboa impressive: Rays reliever Eddie Gamboa had another solid outing, holding the Rangers to no runs on one hit and two walks while striking out four in two innings. The 31-year-old knuckleballer impressed after being selected to the active roster on Sept. 1. Gamboa made seven appearances and pitched 13 1/3 innings, ending the season with a 1.35 ERA and hopes for being a member of the Rays' 2017 bullpen.

"I'm hopeful [about being in next year's bullpen conversation], but at the same time I know that there's a lot that I have to work on," Gamboa said. "So excited about the offseason, the workouts and stuff, come back stronger with more consistency, obviously. Just try and do the same thing next year, go in and eat up innings the best I can and get outs."

Gamboa strikes out Chirinos

Lucroy's liftoff: Jonathan Lucroy went deep one last time in the regular season, hitting a solo shot to right-center in the fourth to cut the Rangers' deficit to one. The homer left his bat at 103 mph and traveled 385 feet, per Statcast™. It was Lucroy's 24th home run of the season, extending his new career-high. Eleven of his home runs have come in his 47 games with the Rangers. Lucroy ends the year as the Major League leader in home runs (23) and RBIs (79) while playing catcher.

"I'm not worried about any of that stuff," Lucroy said. "I'm a forward-looking guy. I don't worry about any of the stuff in the past, whether it's positive or negative. I'm worried about winning the next three games we play."

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Ryan Rua stole two bases, giving him nine on the season on nine attempts. That's tied for the third-most stolen bases in a season without being caught in Rangers history. Craig Gentry set the club record when he stole 18 bases without being caught in 2011.

DRAFT POSITION
By virtue of their final record, the Rays will draft fourth in next June's Draft.

WHAT'S NEXT
Rays: The Rays did not qualify for the postseason, so they will head into the offseason looking for ways to tweak their roster in the hopes of constructing a team that can take them back to the postseason for the first time since 2013.

Rangers: The Rangers are awaiting the winner of Tuesday's American League Wild Card Game to see who they will face in the ALDS. Game 1 is scheduled for Thursday in Arlington.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.