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Tampa Bay Rays-Texas Rangers ALDS preview: Rays' 10 most crucial wins this season

Of all the Rays' wins this season, these 10 had the biggest impact.

1 Rays 10, Yankees 3 Sept. 23, Yankee Stadium

Just the game that swung the momentum in the AL East race, with the Rays pounding the Yankees into submission (and massive substitution) and David Price beating CC Sabathia. Plus it gave the Rays the season series, for just the second time, and control of their own AL East destiny.

2 Rays 8, Twins 6 July 3, Target Field

Matt Joyce's first 2010 homer came at a grand time, an eighth-inning pinch-hit grand slam that capped a seven-run rally after they had been held to one run and four hits by Francisco Liriano. Plus, it sparked a six-game winning streak that put their 14-21 stumble behind them and sparked a 49-33 finish.

3 Rays 1, Yankees 0 Sept. 13, Tropicana Field

One of the best regular-season games you could ever see started with a dazzling duel of eight scoreless innings from David Price and CC Sabathia and ended with dramatics, the Rays celebrating a walkoff homer by Reid Brignac, who was only in the game because Carl Crawford got ejected.

4 Rays 7, Blue Jays 6 June 1, Rogers Centre

Down 5-0 after six innings and 5-3 in the ninth, the Rays rallied for their biggest come-from-behind win of the season, with four walks (two with two outs) then a bases-loaded double by Sean Rodriguez. And that wasn't all the drama, as manager Joe Maddon was ejected for arguing vehemently when Carlos Peña was denied a timeout request.

5 Rays 9, Marlins 8 (11) June 19, Sun Life Stadium

The longest (4:38) — and loudest, given the Marlins' brilliant idea to hand out vuvuzela-style horns — game of the season ended in unexpected fashion, with starter James Shields getting the win in relief and Andy Sonnanstine, their team-record ninth pitcher of the night, making a gutsy comeback after throwing 55 pitches the previous night to get the save.

6 Rays 3, Red Sox 2 (10) Aug. 28, Tropicana Field

The T-shirts would come a few weeks later, but Dan Johnson put the "Bleeping" between his names with another huge game-turning homer against the Red Sox, a 10th-inning walkoff shot. And that after B.J. Upton tied it with an eighth-inning blast.

7 Rays 8, Red Sox 2 April 19, Fenway Park

The road was different for the Rays this season, and that became very clear when — in the awkward and excuse-providing 11 a.m. Patriots' Day game — they completed a stunning four-game series sweep in Boston.

8 Rays 4, Yankees 3 Sept. 15, Tropicana Field

The Rays came back twice, on two-run homers by Dan Johnson in the fifth and seventh, and overcame the hit-by-pitch theatrics of Derek Jeter to win the pivotal series and go back atop the AL East.

9 Rays 5, Tigers 0 July 26, Tropicana Field

Having already been no-hit twice themselves (and once last year), the Rays enjoyed a massive celebration and sense of relief of being on the other side as Matt Garza completed the first no-hitter in franchise history.

10 Rays 3, Royals 2 (12) Oct. 3, Kauffman Stadium

Having limped through the last week of the season, and having clinched the AL East via tiebreaker with the Yankees' loss earlier in the day, the Rays rallied in the final innings of their final game for a dramatic win they hope carries over.

Tampa Bay Rays-Texas Rangers ALDS preview: Rays' 10 most crucial wins this season 10/05/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 5, 2010 2:40pm]
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