Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays rally to beat New York Yankees 5-3 and stay tied with Boston Red Sox in AL wild-card race

ST. PETERSBURG — Their first baseman was in the hospital being checked for chest pains. Their top setup man wasn't available to pitch. Their cleanup hitter was limping all afternoon with his sore right foot wrapped.

And with Boston leading in Baltimore, their hopes were fading.

But the Rays, after adding a triple play to their remarkable story, rallied again, beating the Yankees 5-3.

And by tonight, they could be in the midst of a most unanticipated champagne celebration.

"I hope so," manager Joe Maddon said. "It would be outstanding. I'm a good partier."

Casey Kotchman passed all tests and was released from the hospital. Joel Peralta hopes to be back in the bullpen tonight. And Tampa native Matt Joyce's foot wasn't nearly as sore — "It felt great running around the bases" — after his three-run seventh-inning homer pushed the Rays from behind to the final day of the season still tied with the Red Sox for the AL wild card.

If the Rays (90-71) win and the Sox lose in Baltimore, the Rays — after the appropriate celebration — are headed off to open the playoffs Friday in Texas or Detroit. If they both win, or lose, there will be a one-game playoff at 4:07 Thursday at Tropicana Field. If the Rays lose and the Red Sox win, the Rays go home frustrated by coming so far and falling short.

"We really want to take it in our hands," Joyce said. "We want to control our destiny."

They'll put the ball in the hands of lefty flamethrower David Price, against a Yankees fill-in starter who manager Joe Girardi said only will be named by 7:10, and a team presumably much more interested in getting home to be ready for its own playoff opener.

Price, who has pitched in all three of the Rays' postseason elimination games, said he welcomed the opportunity to pitch the most important of their 2,265 regular-season games.

"Absolutely," he said. "Why wouldn't I? … Obviously it's going to be the biggest game for the Rays in 2011 and one of the biggest games for the Rays in team history. Hopefully we can come in here and play some good baseball and get a win."

They found a way Tuesday, none more stunning than the triple play they turned in the sixth — down a run, after walking the bases loaded in the hopes of getting two outs — that dramatically turned the momentum of the game. "You're kind of in uh-oh mind frame," Joyce said. "That just changed everything."

The six outs they got from rookie relievers Jake McGee and Brandon Gomes in Peralta's absence to bridge the gap from starter Jeremy Hellickson to closer Kyle Farnsworth weren't bad, either. "How about it?" Maddon said.

Nor was seeing Joyce, the Armwood High grad, hobbling out of the dugout for a curtain call from the raucous Tropicana Field crowd of 22,820 after his dramatic blast off former teammate Rafael Soriano, who walked B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria to start the inning. It was the Rays' only hit of the night with a runner in scoring position, having gone 0-for-7 before and 0-for-2 after.

"I think that definitely tops any kind of big hit that I've ever had," Joyce said. "To be in the situation we're in, with two games left, we're down a run and the season's pretty much riding on the line, that was one of the most thrilling hits I've ever been a part of."

Maddon sees it all as more reason to believe they can complete their dramatic dash (15-8 since Sept. 3) — and take advantage of Boston's historic collapse — to become the first team to make the postseason after being nine games out in September.

"All the indicators are there, let's just keep pushing," Maddon said. "When those things kinda show up, it really promotes even more fight. There's more of a believability about the moment."

Or, as Joyce said, "there's definitely something special about this team."

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Rays rally to beat New York Yankees 5-3 and stay tied with Boston Red Sox in AL wild-card race 09/27/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 28, 2011 7:35am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Rays late-night bullpen shuffle: Alvarado, Pruitt down; Kolarek up

    Blogs

    The Rays shuffled their bullpen again after Tuesday's game, sending down struggling LHP Jose Alvarado along with RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham, and turning next to LHP Adam Kolarek, who will make his major-league debut at age 28,

  2. Rays journal: Alex Cobb brilliant, Alex Colome worrying in 10-inning victory (w/video)

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — RHP Alex Cobb couldn't have been much better for the Rays on Tuesday, taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning while working eight solid. And Alex Colome couldn't have been much worse, blowing a two-run ninth-inning lead.

    Rays starter Alex Cobb carries a no-hitter into the seventh and pitches eight shutout innings in his best outing of the season.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Pirates game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb continues to look better and better, which could make the decision whether to trade him tougher. Cobb had a no-hitter through six and threw his biggest pitch with a 1-0 lead in the seventh, getting Josh Bell to roll into a double play.

  4. For good of the Rays, Tim Beckham should embrace move to second

    The Heater

    PITTSBURGH — The acquisition of slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria said a lot of things, most notably that the Rays are serious about making in-season moves to bolster their chances to make the playoffs, with a reliever, or two, next on the shopping list.

    PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 27:  Tim Beckham #1 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after scoring during the eighth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on June 27, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 700011399
  5. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Wednesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park, Pittsburgh

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Blake Snell #4 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)