NEW YORK (AP) -- David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays won the AL Cy Young Award on Wednesday in one of the closest votes ever.
Price beat out 2011 winner Justin Verlander by only four points in balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Other than a 1969 tie between Mike Cuellar and Denny McLain, it was the tightest race in the history of the AL award.
"It means a lot," Price said. "It's something that I'll always have. It's something that they can't take away from me."
Runner-up two years ago, Price was the pick this time for the league's top pitching prize. He received 14 of 28 first-place votes and finished with 153 points. Verlander was chosen first on 13 ballots.
Rays closer Fernando Rodney got the other first-place vote and came in fifth.
Price went 20-5 to tie Jered Weaver for the American League lead in victories and winning percentage. The 27-year-old lefty had the lowest ERA at 2.56 and finished sixth in strikeouts with 205.
Verlander, also the league MVP a year ago, followed that up by going 17-8 with a 2.64 ERA and pitching the Detroit Tigers to the World Series. He led the majors in strikeouts (239), innings (238 1/3) and complete games (six).
Price tossed 211 innings in 31 starts, while Verlander made 33. One factor that might have swung some votes, however: Price faced stiffer competition in the rugged AL East than Verlander did in the AL Central.
"I guess it's a blessing and a curse at the same time," Price said. "There's not an easy out in the lineups every game. It feels like a postseason game."
Weaver came in third with 70 points, but was listed second on a pair of ballots. The right-hander threw a no-hitter and had a 2.81 ERA in his first 20-win season but missed time with injuries and totaled only 188 2-3 innings for the Los Angeles Angels.
The top pick in the 2007 amateur draft out of Vanderbilt, Price reached the majors the following year and has made three straight All-Star teams.
Despite going 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA in 2010, he finished a distant second in Cy Young voting to Felix Hernandez, who won only 13 games for last-place Seattle but dominated most other statistical categories that year.
Verlander was trying to become the first AL pitcher to win back-to-back Cy Youngs since Boston's Pedro Martinez in 1999 and 2000. San Francisco right-hander Tim Lincecum did it in the National League in 2008-09.
Vanderbilt Head Coach Tim Corbin on Price winning the Cy Young Award:
"All of us who have been part of David's development will celebrate this prestigious award with him...needless to say we are beyond proud. I know that his left arm is special, but in my mind he epitomizes what a true-athlete and teammate are all about...David dignifies himself everyday with his character, humility and actions. He has maintained a child-like innocence for the game of baseball that is very natural...he plays for the "team" and relishes the relationships that are built inside of the game. His personal accomplishments have and will always be, team-driven. It's simple, if you have him in your team, your team will win and the experience will be more enjoyable because of his existence."
What they're saying about Price...
Price 'humbled, blessed' by Cy Young Award win - MLB.com
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price wins AL Cy Young - Tampa Tribune
Tampa Bay Rays' David Price wins AL Cy Young Award - Tampa Bay Times
David Price wins AL Cy Young in tight race - USA Today