ST. PETERSBURG (CBS) The baseball gods have answered the Tampa Bay Rays in a game that they were never supposed to win.
Facing a 7-0 deficit in the eight inning, the Rays rallied to tie the game in the ninth and go on to win 8-7 in the 12th inning to secure the American League Wild Card position.
Evan Longoria ended the game in walk-off fashion with a solo homer in the 12th to blur Boston’s vision of a postseason birth and guarantee Tampa Bay a playoff spot.
With the kind of month the Rays have had, an emotional win like tonight’s is crucial heading into the playoffs. The fans are back in it, and the entire atmosphere at Tropicana Field and around the Tampa Bay area has changed dramatically.
David Price was the sure-handed candidate for the most important game to date this season, but the hard-throwing right hander could not find his control early on. Mark Teixeira rattled Price with a grand slam in the second to put the Yankees up 5-0.
Teixeira hit another homer in the fourth, followed by a home run from Andruw Jones in the fifth to essentially seal the win, or so they thought.
Tampa Bay got to work in the eighth when they loaded the bases and were able to capitalize on New York’s blunders. Sam Fuld walked with the bases loaded to bring in the first run, then Shaun Rodriguez was hit by a pitch to bring in the second run for the Rays.
B.J Upton hit a sacrifice fly and drove in the third run, and with one out in the eight Longoria stepped into the batter’s box and jacked a three-run homer to cut the lead to one.
Then there was Dan Johnson. A home run hero by trade, Johnson was the Rays’ last hope in the ninth, and came through with a solo homer to send the game to extra innings.
Emotions ran high with big play after big play, and after Longoria’s home run in the eighth it was evident that Tampa Bay knew they had a job to do.
Wednesday night saw a memorable ending to an unforgettable late season comeback, and just like that the Rays will catch a flight to face Texas on Friday and get their post season swag in full swing.