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Rays advance to postseason with 12th-inning win, Red Sox loss

Sep 29, 2011, 12:14 AM EDT

B.J. Upton, Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, Reid Brignac, Sean Rodriguez AP

The Rays beat the Yankees 8-7 in the 12th inning on an Evan Longoria walkoff homer Wednesday, while the Red Sox fell to the Orioles 4-3 after Jonathan Papelbon gave up two ninth-inning runs.

Tampa Bay’s win came after a furious six-run eighth and a Dan Johnson homer with two outs in the ninth ruined a 7-0 Yankees lead.  Left with just Scott Proctor — their 11th pitcher of the game — in the bullpen the Yankees lost it in the 12th.  Proctor did an admirable job for someone with an 10.80 ERA, pitching 2 2/3 scoreless innings prior to Longoria’s homer.

In Baltimore, Papelbon, who worked 2 1/3 innings on Sunday and had a difficult ninth inning Tuesday, appeared to simply run out of gas.  He gave up two doubles with two outs, tying the game.  Robert Andino then hit a low liner to left that Carl Crawford appeared to have a play on.  Of course, Crawford, as he has all season long, came up just a little short and had no chance of throwing out Nolan Reimold at the plate after playing the one-hopper.

The loss completed a season-ending run that saw the Red Sox go 7-19 and lose a nine-game lead over Tampa Bay.

The story from the Red Sox fan viewpoint will be how the Orioles gave it their all and the Yankees, Mark Teixeira excepted, did anything but. It’s also worth noting how terribly Terry Francona used his bench down the stretch. The Red Sox didn’t send up one pinch-hitter in this game.  Francona allowed J.D. Drew to face a lefty with two men on in the fifth (he flied out to end the inning) and he let Ryan Lavarnway go 0-for-5 (with nine men on base) even though there were lefties to hit for him against right-handers late.

So, it’s the Rays who move on to face the Rangers on Friday, while the Tigers will travel to New York. Stifled for seven innings — they managed just two hits against the dregs of the Yankees pitching staff — the Rays, to their credit, did their battling back under extreme duress against genuine major league pitchers.  Luis Ayala, who was torched in the eighth inning, entered with a 1.64 ERA in 55 innings, and Cory Wade, who gave up the run in the ninth, had a 1.85 ERA.  They were the Yankees’ low-leverage guys this season, but both had been excellent.

For the Red Sox, it it was Papelbon’s last appearance with the team, it was a dreadful one. He and David Ortiz are among the team’s key free agents, and it’s unclear if the Red Sox will want to commit to making Papelbon one of the game’s highest-paid closers for the next three or four years.  Papelbon had just one blown save all season until taking two in his last three chances, both of which resulted in losses.

Francona’s status is also very much in doubt. Letting go of their two-time World Series-winning manager would by a drastic step for the Red Sox, but it’s one that could be considered. Technically, they wouldn’t even have to fire him, since his contract is up anyway.

  1. yankeesjetsknicksrangers - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:47 AM

    Its beautiful man.

    They had a clip on NESN of Papelbon right before the inning saying he was smirking on the mound the previous night because he loves being in that situation. LOL

    • jimeejohnson - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      Papelbon is as overrated as the Red Sox!

  2. jaysfan64 - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    Wow! Craziest night of baseball I’ve ever seen….congrats to the Rays and their fans….when the Red Sox were here earlier this month I knew just from watching them they were in deep trouble…
    Now having said that maybe we’ll be the fans going crazy in a year’s time….

  3. Ick McWang - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:58 AM


  4. steelersandladyboysfan - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:58 AM

    Papelbon=the white Donnie Moore

    • bigleagues - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:34 AM

      1) He’s either = to Donnie Moore or not. Adding ‘white’ is just lame.

      2) Unlike Donnie Moore, Papelbon has closed out must win games and championships.

      3) Making jokes about Donnie Moore really isn’t cool, nor is it funny. It’s just sad.

  5. tacklemeelmo - Sep 29, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    Orioles Magic!

    • tacklemeelmo - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:04 AM

      This is fantastic…

    • tacklemeelmo - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:14 AM

      And inversely…

      • leerosenthall - Sep 29, 2011 at 11:08 AM

        I was a Liberal Arts major, but those are two of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

        Baseball: Sport of the Gods

  6. ny82jy - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    Congrats to the o’s for taking out the sux over and over the last two weeks.

  7. bigleagues - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    Papelbon is better off saying nothing than spewing the idiocy that he’s mouthing right now. “It’s a game of inches. Things didn’t go our way tonight. That’s why we play 162 games.”

  8. cervellirules - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:08 AM

    I can’t wait for an entire postseason of upset Red Sox fans accusing the Yankees of rolling over to the Rays. I think it’ll sound a little like heaven.

    • aceshigh11 - Sep 29, 2011 at 2:59 AM

      You won’t be hearing it from me because it’s largely a bogus argument, and because a team as good as the Sox should NEVER have put itself in the position to depend on one rival for burying another.

      Winners do that themselves. The Sox are what we call “losers” this year.

      • cervellirules - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:08 AM

        I completely agree, but I fear you may be the most rational Sox defender out there right now.

      • javadanny - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:28 AM

        I am also a Sox fan. It’ll be a long winner. Just can’t figure out what the O’s were celebrating. They were picked preseason to be all the rage, a brand new winning team. They celebrated as if they just won the World Series last night…making a pile and all that crap. They are still in the CELLAR, a last place team with no class or humility.

      • javadanny - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:29 AM

        long *winter*

        Congrats to the Rays. Guess I’ll root for Detroit.

      • cervellirules - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:33 AM

        javadanny- That was the biggest game of the year for the O’s. I think they had every right to celebrate, especially coming from behind to win in walk-off fashion. I know it stings because you’re a Sox fan and they just knocked your team out of the playoffs, but it was still a legit thing for them to celebrate. Teams do that all the time in far more meaningless games.

      • javadanny - Sep 29, 2011 at 3:49 AM


        Yeah it stings…but I’ll be over it by Friday and watch the playoffs just like all seasons in the past. Baseball is the best game on the planet.

  9. ramsyanks - Sep 29, 2011 at 8:19 AM

    Good night douche bag Sox fans!!! Sleep tight!

    • bigleagues - Sep 29, 2011 at 1:09 PM

      As expected . . . the ‘real’ Yankees fans have begun to show their faces again – and true colors.

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