ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Cliff Lee added another impressive line to his growing October resume, putting the Texas Rangers on his back and carrying them into the AL Championship Series for the first time.

Lee tossed another postseason gem and Texas won a playoff series for the first time Tuesday night, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 in a decisive Game 5 on the legs of some daring baserunning.

Lee struck out 11 in a six-hitter for his second victory against the Rays’ ace, David Price, in a series in which the road team won every game, a first in major-league history.

“It was a lot of fun, I know that much,” Lee said. “We had our back against the wall and we came out and performed.”

The Rangers will be home Friday night against the wild-card New York Yankees in the opener of the best-of-seven ALCS. Texas’ previous three playoff appearances ended with first-round losses to New York, in 1996, ’98 and ’99.

The teams split eight games in the regular season, with the Rangers winning the final four.

“They’re a great team and that’s why they are where they are,” Lee said. “They’re going to be a good challenge, just like these guys.”

Ian Kinsler hit a two-run homer in the ninth inning for Texas, which had been the only active major-league franchise that hadn’t won a playoff series.

Lee improved to 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA and three complete games in seven career postseason starts, striking out 54 and walking six in 561/3 innings.

Lee, acquired in July from Seattle, threw 120 pitches and walked none. He retired his final nine batters and prevented Tampa Bay from completing an improbable comeback after losing the first two games at home.

When B.J. Upton popped out to shortstop for the final out, Lee didn’t even watch the ball drop into Elvis Andrus’ glove. He simply walked toward catcher Bengie Molina; the two hugged as Rangers players poured onto the field to mob Lee.

The Rays had the AL’s best record, giving them home-field advantage in the playoffs. But they lost all three games at Tropicana Field, managing only two runs.

“David pitched fine. We made too many mistakes, spring- training mistakes,” Rays Manager Joe Maddon said. “I want to congratulate the Rangers. Spectacular achievement they put forth this season.”

The Rangers said it’s the first time the road team has won every game in a playoff series.

This also was the first time a division series went the full five games since the Los Angeles Angels beat the New York Yankees in 2005.

A pair of Rangers scored from second base on infield grounders, thanks to heads-up running by Elvis Andrus and Vladimir Guerrero.

It’s the first playoff series victory in the 50-season history of the Washington/Texas franchise.

“It’s something we’re proud of,” slugger Josh Hamilton said. “Hopefully we can take it to the next level.”

Back in the clubhouse, the first round of celebrating was with ginger ale so Hamilton, who has battled alcohol and drug addiction, could take part. When he left, the Rangers brought out champagne.

Lee, the 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner, won the series opener 5-1, allowing five hits and striking out 10 in seven innings. He struck out Carlos Pena six of the seven times he faced him in the series, and finished with an AL division series-record 21 strikeouts in two games.

Texas pitchers struck out 55 in the five games, a record for a division series in either league.

After losing the first two games at Tropicana Field, the Rays rallied to win Games 3 and 4 in Texas to give themselves a chance to join the 1985 Royals, 1986 Mets, 1996 Yankees and 2001 Yankees as the only teams to lose the first two games of a postseason series at home and come back to win the series.