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Ranking the Rays' walkoff wins

The Rays tied a franchise record this season with 13 walkoff victories. Take any one of them away and the Rays would have missed Monday's game and, thus, tonight's. All were critical, yet some mattered more than others — to snap a losing streak, or start a winning streak, or beat a division rival. Here is how we rank the Rays' 13 walkoff victories in 2013.

No. 1

Sept. 20: Rays 5, Orioles 4 (18 innings)

Not only the best walkoff of the season, but the best victory of the season. This marathon 18-inning affair didn't end until after 2 in the morning, and when you play that long in the heat of the pennant race, a loss is devastating. David DeJesus delivered the winning hit in the bottom of the 18th that sparked the Rays' four-game sweep over the Orioles and set the tone for the team's gutty late-season win streak to cement "one more game." The loss also dealt the Orioles a blow they could not overcome.

No. 2

Aug. 14: Rays 5, Mariners 4

A critical victory as the Rays came into the game with a six-game losing streak. They were headed toward a seventh, trailing 4-3 going to the bottom of the ninth. Matt Joyce's RBI single tied the score, then the Rays won on a hit from an unlikely star. Jason Bourgeois, above, a 31-year-old journeyman who was designated for assignment a little more than a week later and dropped from the 40-man roster, had the clutch bases-loaded single. This victory turned around the season just as it was beginning to slip away.

No. 3

Sept. 23: Rays 5, Orioles 4

Down 4-2 going to the seventh, the Rays rallied to tie, then won when James Loney led off the bottom of the ninth with a line-drive homer into the rightfield seats. It was the Rays' first pinch-hit homer of the season and completed a sweep of the Orioles, pretty much applying a sleeper hold to Baltimore's playoff hopes.

No. 4

May 11: Rays 8, Padres 7

This would have been a horrible loss. Playing the lowly Padres, the Rays held a 6-2 lead and seemed well on the way to an easy victory when San Diego rallied for five runs in the seventh. But down 7-6 with two outs, Ben Zobrist fought back from a 1-and-2 count to work a walk. Then Evan Longoria slugged a two-run homer to give the Rays a dramatic comeback win that was the fourth victory in a six-game win streak.

No. 5

June 29: Rays 4, Tigers 3 (10 innings)

This game was best remembered for the bizarre dustup between Rays closer Fernando Rodney and Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera that led to the Rays' Ben Zobrist being plunked the following day. The Rays got the last laugh in this game as Yunel Escobar, right, knocked in the winning run in the 10th. The victory snapped a two-game losing streak and started a four-game win streak as well as a spurt of 11 victories in the next 12 games.

No. 6

Sept. 18: Rays 4, Rangers 3 (12 innings)

You could say this might have been the ultimate difference between the Rays and Rangers this season. Desmond Jennings, above center, went from goat to hero when he butchered a line drive in the outfield that led to two runs then won the game on a single in the bottom of the 12th.

No. 7

April 3: Rays 8, Orioles 7

Just the second game of the season and the Rays were sent into shock when closer Fernando Rodney blew a save. It was something he rarely did in 2012, but something he would do far too often in 2013. The Rays, however, pulled out the victory on Matt Joyce's (above) homer to lead off the bottom of the ninth.

No. 8

Aug. 16: Rays 5, Blue Jays 4

With his parents visiting from Venezuela, Jose Lobaton hit a rare walkoff triple to knock in Yunel Escobar.

No. 9

Aug. 18: Rays 2, Blue Jays 1

Two days after his walkoff triple and with his parents still in town (gee, maybe they should move here), Jose Lobaton hit a one-out homer in the bottom of the ninth.

No. 10

Aug. 3: Rays 2, Giants 1 (10 innings)

The Rays knocked off the defending champs when Wil Myers, right, smashed a bases-loaded hit over the leftfielder's head.

No. 11

May 9: Rays 5, Blue Jays 4 (10 innings)

This game was most notable for being the third-ever pitching matchup between the reigning Cy Young Award winners. David Price started for the Rays, while R.A. Dickey started for the Blue Jays. Neither was around when Luke Scott drew a rare walkoff walk in the bottom of the 10th.

No. 12

May 28: Rays 7, Marlins 6

The Rays could not afford to lose any games against their dreadful cross-state cousins, and they pulled a victory away from defeat in this one. The Rays overcame an early 4-0 deficit and won on Desmond Jennings' two-out single in the ninth. Tampa Bay would win all four meetings against the Marlins in 2013.

No. 13

July 10: Rays 4, Twins 3 (13 innings)

One of the uglier games of the season. This nearly five-hour marathon featured 35 strikeouts. The Rays won on Ben Zobrist's two-out RBI single.

Ranking the Rays' walkoff wins 10/01/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 11:26pm]
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