ST. PETERSBURG (CBS) The baseball gods have been good to the Tampa Bay Rays lately, and a walk-off win today showed why this team has a legitimate shot to make the playoffs in 2011.
Johnny Damon was the hero Sunday afternoon when he cranked a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Rays the 8-7 win and a sweep of the series against the Seattle Mariners. Tampa Bay is now 13 games above .500 and has sealed their fifth consecutive win.
James Shields (11-10) had a shaky start from the beginning as he let up 12 hits and seven earned runs through seven innings of work. The Rays were down most of the game, but managed to hang around and bring out the bats to compensate for Shields’ rough outing.
The Rays rallied in the seventh when Matt Joyce doubled to center to drive in B.J Upton to cut the lead to one. Two walks were issued by Seattle reliever Jamey Wright, which put Damon at the plate with the bases loaded.
He unloaded on pitch and nearly went yard for the grand slam, but the hit was ruled a double and still drove in three runs to give the Rays a 7-5 lead.
Seattle regrouped and was able to tie the game up in the eighth inning. The stage would again be set for Damon in the ninth, and the future hall of famer won it in walk off fashion.
The offense was clearly the difference maker for the Rays, and if they can keep this level of play up then there is no reason why this team can’t be a playoff contender.
They say farewell to Seattle and begin a four-game series with the Detroit Tigers starting at 7: 10 ET tomorrow night at Tropicana Field.