So, by now I’m sure you’ve all heard about last night’s craziness at the Trop between the Rays and Yankees and the madness at Camden Yards in Baltimore between the Orioles and Red Sox.
That’s about the only way I can describe it. The most epic collapse in baseball history and the most amazing comeback in Rays history.
Some people are calling the Rays game the single greatest game in regular season history. I’m not sure about that but the night’s story has to be the greatest.
So here’s what happened in case you were in a coma last night.
The Rays were down early and down big. Zobrist had an error on a routine ground ball that allowed Granderson to score (Yankees 1-0). Teixeira had a grand slam (Yankees 5-0). Teixeira hit a solo home run (Yankees 6-0). Jones hit a solo home run (Yankees 7-0). This was all off all star pitcher David Price.
Game over right?
Everyone thought so, the Rays just aren’t built to come back from that sort of deficit.
The focus turns to the Orioles, who were down 3-2, in a rain delay.
Well, it was getting late, who knew if the Orioles game was going to resume anytime soon. I started heading for the door when I saw on the ESPN ticker that the Rays game was 7-3, 2 men on and Longoria up to bat. I knew with one swing of a bat the Rays game could be a 1 run game. We turned the channel back on just in time to see Longoria circling the bases with his 30th home run. This is bottom of the 8th inning. It was still 7-0 through 7 innings.
It’s now a 7-6 game and you get the feeling that the Rays have a real shot at this.
Fast forward to bottom of the 9th, 2 outs. Maddon sends up the legendary Dan Johnson to pinch hit. This guy is batting .108 on the season, barely played MLB ball this year and this is the guy you want up to bat, to hinge your season on?
Well, that’s why I’m not managing because Dan Johnson, down 2-2 in the count, hit a home run. Are you KIDDING me? Game is TIED.
Fast forward to the 12th inning. The Yankees get runners on 1st and 3rd with no outs and you really feel that this game could slip away. Posada grounds up the 3rd base line and Longoria tags the runner who is caught off the bag. A strikeout and a groundout later and we’re on to the bottom of the 12th inning unscathed.
Now, flip back to Baltimore where they are now in the bottom of the 9th. Pappelbon is in to shut things down with the Red Sox still leading 3-2. He retires the first two batters. Then a double. Then a ground rule double to score the runner at 2nd. Game tied 3-3. Next hitter hits a ball right to a sliding Carl Crawford…who doesn’t catch it. Winning run scores. Red Sox lose 4-3.
Back to St. Petersburg, the crowd erupts as they learn of the Boston loss. BJ Upton strikes out. Evan Longoria is back up. He knows Boston has lost. Next, he hits a homerun up the 3rd base side that barely clears the short wall. Anywhere else in the park and that would have only been a double.
The Rays win 8-7 in 12 innings.
No 163rd game needed. The Rays are simply the AL wild card winners.
The Rays will open the playoffs at Texas on Friday night.
For more reading on the epic collapse of Boston, check out the Boston/Baltimore game recap.
Or check out the Rays game recap.