When the Tampa Bay Rays came up to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning in Wednesday night's game against the New York Yankees, they were trailing 7-0. Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox were trapped in a rain delay against the Baltimore Orioles, leading 3-2. By some estimates, the Rays' chances of making the playoffs in that situation were considerably lower than one percent. But, it wasn't zero, meaning they had a chance. They made the most of that chance.
Improbably, the Rays scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth, then another in the bottom of the ninth. On their last out of the season, Dan Johnson - a man with one home run on the season - hit a game-tying solo homer. Rob Neyer summed up the improbability of the situation perfectly. It just wasn't supposed to happen.
Things got even more nutty later on when Jonathan Papelbon blew a save for the Red Sox as the Orioles came back in the bottom of the ninth, cruelly putting the fate of the Sox in the hands of the Yankees. Less than ten minutes after the O's sunk the Sox, Evan Longoria hit a walk-off home run to send the Rays to the playoffs. Last night's A.L. Wild Card live StoryStream chronicling the happenings was spectacular.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Braves completed their September collapse, falling in extra innings against the Philadelphia Phillies, giving the N.L. Wild Card to the St. Louis Cardinals. Baseball Nation had great coverage all night long in their N.L. Wild Card live StoryStream; give it a read to relive last night's magic.
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