At beautiful Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on September 28, the Tampa Bay Rays were playing possibly one of the most important games of their season.

Down by seven runs in the bottom of the eighth, things were looking bleak for the Rays who needed a win against the Yankees for the wild card spot.

After Jonny Damon earned a single and Ben Zobrist got on with a double, the Rays had two men on base. Then the Yankee pitching staff started slacking. A wild pitch by Boone Logan hit Casey Kotchman making bases loaded

New York made a call to the bullpen and Luis Ayala relieved Logan on the mound. The change of face on the mound made no difference because the next batter was walked which brought in a run.

Then in the same inning with bases loaded Ayala beamed Sean Rodriguez, bringing in yet another run. After Jennings struck out the Yankee pitching staff saw a light at the end of the tunnel but B.J. Upton covered it up with a sac fly making the game 7-3.

Odds were still against the Rays when third baseman Evan Longoria stepped up to the plate with two outs and two men on but Longoria didn’t care about odds, he blasted a three run shot to bring his team back into the game making the score 7-6.

Just one inning later in the bottom of the ninth, Tampa manager Joe Maddon, followed a gut feeling and put in pinch hitter Dan Johnson. With two outs and a 2-2 count, that gut feeling proved worthy when Johnson hit a solo homer to tie the game up and like that, it was time for extra innings.

Three innings of free baseball later in the bottom of the 12, Longoria stepped up to the plate one more time. With over 29,000 eyes on him at Tropicana Field, he belted a line drive to left field just clearing the wall for a walk-off homerun.

Longoria ran the diamond where he met his entire team at home plate for a celebration.

With the Boston Redsox’s loss at Baltimore, this gave the Rays the wildcard.

What really made this game great wasn’t the three homeruns, not the seven run comeback, but was the fact that in the beginning of September, the Boston Redsox were leading the Rays by nine games. Tampa wouldn’t accept defeat though and powered through their schedule for a spot in the post season against the Texas Rangers.

By admin

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