A perfect night of baseball

A perfect night of baseball

Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon speaks to the media during a press conference at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, Thursday, September 29, 2011.

Jordan Lutz, Staff Reporter

On Wednesday, September 28, the Rays were going to play the last game of the season against the New York Yankees. At stake, a playoff spot for the Rays. The Rays and Boston Red Sox had played 161 games and had an identical record of 90-71. If both teams were to win on this night, the Rays and Red Sox would play a one game playoff to decide who would win the playoff spot.

The Rays started off shaky and quickly fell behind the Yankees 7-0. While the Red Sox, who were playing in Baltimore against the Orioles, were winning 3-2 when rain began to fall and the game had to be delayed. So as the Red Sox sat in their locker room watching the Rays lose to the Yankees, they felt that their chances of going to the playoffs were secure as long as they continued to beat the Orioles.

 

Then it began. The Rays began their comeback in the 8th inning, They scored 6 runs in the 8th thanks to Evan Longoria’s three run homerun. The Rays were now down 7-6.

Back in Baltimore, the rain delay was over and the Red Sox were leaving their locker room to take the field, knowing that the Rays had come storming back against the Yankees. The Yankees then had three quick outs in the top of the 9th and the Rays were coming up to bat with what could have been their last three outs of the season. The first two batters of the inning quickly made outs. With two outs, Rays Manager Joe Madden called on Dan Johnson to pinch hit and try to save the Rays hopes. Johnson had two strikes on him when he hit a line drive down the right field line which hit the foul pole and was ruled a homerun. Tropicana field erupted. Johnson had tied the game and the Rays playoff chances were still alive.

 Meanwhile, in Baltimore, the Red Sox were still winning their game 3-2 as the game had resumed play after the rain delay.

 As I sat at home and watched both games on my TV, the Red Sox game went to the 9th inning and the Rays game was going into the 12th inning. In Baltimore, the Orioles got a couple of hits to tie the Red Sox and then it happened, Red Sox left fielder and former Ray, Carl Crawford could not hold onto a fly ball in left which helped the Orioles score the winning run and beat the Red Sox 4-3.

 Back at Tropicana Field, the rays were batting in the bottom of the 12th when the crowd went wild. The scoreboard showed that the Orioles had beaten the Red Sox 4-3. Then Evan Longoria stepped to the plate, with the crowd still going crazy over the Red Sox loss. Longoria gave the fans more to cheer about and hit a line drive to the left field corner that just barely cleared the wall for a game winning homerun. Tropicana Field went nuts and Rays players and coaches stormed the field. The Rays had made an unbelievable comeback and were in the playoffs.

 “It was a crazy night,” Rays manager Joe Madden said. “What happened out there goes beyond the imagination.”

 The Rays now travel to Texas to face the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs and hopefully the magical season continues.

 “It’s a storybook finish,” designated hitter Johnny Damon said.