Tampa Bay Rays Comeback Caps Greatest Night in MLB History
Ok, so maybe not the "greatest" night ever, but certainly the greatest in the regular season. Going into last nights games, the final games of the regular season, several playoff spots were still undecided. The NL Wild card was being contested by the tied Atlanta Braves & St. Louis Cardinals. The AL Wild card was being contested by bitter rivals Boston Red Sox & Tampa Bay Rays. As of now, we know how that turned out.
First the Braves, who a month ago held a 10 1/2 game lead over the Cardinals for the wild-card. They followed that by going 9-18 over the next month, while the Cardinals crept up within range. Then last night the Braves completely blew it, as they lost to the Phillies in 13 innings. Meanwhile, the Cardinals were cruising to a nice 8-0 win over the Astros.
Nothing compares though to the absolute collapse of the Boston Red Sox. They went a similar 7-19 in September culminating their slide with a crushing defeat in Baltimore. A game that was delayed in the 7th inning, when the Red Sox carried a 3-2 lead, seemed destined to go in their favor. However, the rain delay benched starter Jon Lester, which meant a call to the bullpen. The bullpen succeeded in holding the Orioles (who were making great plays themselves, throwing Scutaro out at home being one,) who kept the game close. During the rain delay, the Rays were losing to the Yankees 7-0.
Switch to the bottom of the 8th inning in Tampa. The Rays are now scoring runs as two hit batters, a bases loaded walk and a single have scored three runs. The Yankees ended up using 11 pitchers in the game, the Rays used 8. Then up came Evan Longoria who hit a three run home run to bring the game to 7-6. The Rays failed to close that inning, but in the bottom of the ninth, Dan Johnson (hitting just around .100) came up to bat. And tied the game with one swing and two strikes. Johnson has one job on the Rays, to hit home runs to clinch playoff spots. He did it in 2008 against the Red Sox, he did it again last night.Continued on the next page