ST. PETERSBURG — Carlos Peña said a big reason the Rays are back in the playoffs is because "every single player on this roster contributed."
So it was fitting that the Rays' postseason-clinching 5-0 win over the Orioles in front of 17,891 at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night was a collective effort.
"That's what we do," centerfielder B.J. Upton said. "That's what this team is built around. Not one person is going to do it. We all pitch in, and that's kind of what we did (Tuesday)."
The Rays (94-63) got another stellar September start from ace left-hander David Price (19-6), who made what likely was his final outing of the regular season. Price threw eight shutout innings, striking out eight.
"That was awesome," catcher John Jaso said. "He was electric."
And the Rays gave him plenty of support, scoring in four of the first five innings. There was Upton, who continued his recent success at the plate, hitting an RBI single in the second inning to help the Rays strike first. It was a big run considering Tampa Bay was shut out the night before in its second straight loss.
"Especially coming off (Monday night), we wanted to get something started early," Upton said. "That's exactly what we did, and it kind of snowballed from there."
There was struggling Peña, who picked up a walk and a solo homer, his 28th of the season.
And there was leftfielder Carl Crawford, who had another big day. Crawford had a two-out single in the third before racing around to score on a Dan Johnson double, breaking his club record with his 105th run of the season.
Crawford added to that total in the fifth, hitting a solo homer, his 17th of the season, one shy of tying his career high set in 2006.
"The Ben Zobrist of '08 has really been Dan Johnson," Evan Longoria said. "He's got all the big hits."
The Rays also got some of their typically sharp defense, from Jaso racing to the screen behind the plate to grab a Ty Wigginton popup in the sixth to shortstop Reid Brignac chasing a chopper up the middle before throwing on the run to get Nolan Reimold in the seventh.
"Big hits, good defense," Brig-nac said. "That's our combination to win."
And even with a five-run lead in the ninth, the Rays brought in closer Rafael Soriano, who cruised in a 1-2-3 inning, striking out Adam Jones swinging to end the game. In doing so, Soriano, who has 44 saves, backed up a statement he made to Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman on the phone after he was acquired in December 2009.
Soriano said he watched the Rays in 2008-09 and knew they could get back to the playoffs; they just needed extra help in the bullpen.
"Now you've got me," Soriano said he told Friedman. "I think you're going to win."
Said Friedman: "When we talked, I said he was the missing piece for us. He said, 'Absolutely I am, and we're going to go out and celebrate.' "
Joe Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.