For Perez, no shame in losing to Price

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Martin Perez can take one thing away from Monday night's 5-2 loss in the American League wild-card tiebreaker game.

There's no shame in losing to a former Cy Young Award winner like the Tampa Bay Rays' David Price.

Perez gave up an early run, allowed a two-run home run to Evan Longoria and didn't make it out of the sixth inning. It probably wasn't what the 22-year-old Perez was looking for.

But knowing that Perez fractured his forearm in spring training, didn't get to the big leagues for good until June and ended up winning six straight games in August and September, there's nothing but good things he can take away from this season.

Just listen to veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski when asked about the pitch Perez made to Longoria in the third inning that catapulted the Rays to a 3-0 lead.

Perez got the ball where he wanted it -- down in the strike zone -- and Longoria, with a history of big hits late in the season, beat him.

"It wasn't a bad pitch," Pierzynski said. "[Longoria] just got his barrel on it. Martin made some good pitches in the first inning. The kid should be proud. I thought he pitched really well given the situation and given what he was facing for him being young.

"He's got a bright, bright future, and [I] hope that nobody looks at this game and gets down on him because that kid has a really good future. He's special, and he's only going to get better."

Perez was obviously disappointed after the game, regretting two walks in the early innings, both of which ended up as runs. The first inning was a mess in which he allowed three hits to go with the walk, but he got out of it allowing only the one run on Delmon Young's sacrifice fly.

Perez will also look back on the season proud that he overcame his injury and became a candidate for the American League rookie of the year award after carrying the Rangers' rotation in August with five victories.

"They did give me an opportunity to pitch at this level, and I think I did a great job this year," Perez said. "I want to work hard to be a good pitcher in the future."

Perez needs only to look at Price for what going through a little adversity with a late-season loss can end up producing in future seasons.

Price beat the Rangers for just the second time in 12 starts. This wasn't a postseason game, but it felt like one, and Price's 0-3 record against the Rangers in the playoffs doesn't feel nearly as bad now.

Price was clearly emotional after the game. He took advantage of a pitcher-friendly strike zone and pitched the fifth complete game in the history of the tiebreaker game.

Price adjusted his pitching style by going more with his breaking pitches than his fastball, which was actually up around 96 miles per hour after being around 94 mph in his past few starts. The Rangers managed just six hits.

"He threw a lot of breaking pitches," Elvis Andrus said. "Before, he used to throw a lot of fastballs against us, and that's why we always hit well. Today, he made an adjustment and threw a ton of changeups and breaking balls when we were ahead. He was locating the pitches really good, too."