Rays 7, Twins 2: Sept. 20, Tropicana Field
Nothing too dramatic here, oh, except for 3B Evan Longoria squeezing the final out to release 10 years of frustration and allow the Rays to finally put their horrid past behind them as they clinched their first-ever berth in the postseason, launching a wild celebration in the clubhouse and in the stands.
Rays 5, Red Sox 4: Sept. 9, Fenway Park
Rays win in Boston for the first time in a year in staggering fashion as Dan Johnson, who was called up from Triple A and arrived just before game time, makes his Rays debut with a pinch-hit homer off closer Jonathan Papelbon to tie it in the ninth, and the Rays go ahead on doubles by Fernando Perez and Dioner Navarro.
Rays 2, Red Sox 1: Sept. 16, Tropicana Field
Having lost their sole grip on first place, the Rays' 11th walkoff win of the season may have been their biggest. No-hit into the fifth and shut out into the seventh by Boston ace Josh Beckett, they tied it on a homer by Carlos Pena then won it in the ninth when Dioner Navarro's bases-loaded single scored Jason Bartlett.
Rays 10, Indians 7: Aug. 6, Tropicana Field
Down 7-4 to start the ninth on getaway day before the longest trip of the year, the Rays rallied in remarkable fashion as the first six batters of the ninth reached and scored. They tied it on a two-run homer by Gabe Gross and won it on a three-run blast by Carlos Pena.
Rays 3, Cubs 2: June 17, Tropicana Field
In the first return visit by former managers Lou Piniella and Larry Rothschild, the Rays took the lead on some big homers (by Cliff Floyd and Evan Longoria), then held on to win as Longoria made a huge play on a bunt for the final out. The Rays rolled on to sweep the then-best-in-baseball Cubs.
Rays 2, Blue Jays 1: July 18, Tropicana Field
The Rays lost seven straight and their hold on first place going into the All-Star break, all of their momentum and at least some of their confidence. But in the first game post-break, a seventh-inning home run from another unlikely star, Ben Zobrist, rallied them to victory and they moved back atop the Red Sox.
Rays 2, Yankees 1: May 13, Tropicana Field
Gabe Gross' walkoff single off Mariano Rivera that scored Jonny Gomes was cause enough for celebration as it was the first of Gross' three game-ending hits and the first run Rivera allowed all season. More so, it moved the Rays into first place beyond the first week of the season for the first time in franchise history.
Rays 7, A's 6 (13): May 19, McAfee Coliseum
Winning extra-inning games on the road are huge; doing so after losing the previous two games on the final pitch in St. Louis, and doing so with a two-run top-of-the-13th homer by rookie Evan Longoria, was even bigger.
Rays 8, Jays 3 (13): May 8, Rogers Centre
Having been swept in Boston and split the first two games with the Jays, the Rays overcame Troy Percival's first blown save, battled through a tenuous 10th, took the lead on Dioner Navarro's grand slam and hung on.
Rays 2, White Sox 1: May 30, Tropicana Field
The Rays won 11 games on the final pitch, but there may not have been more joy and respect at home plate than when Cliff Floyd, who was going to be pinch hit for the previous inning, homered off Scott Linebrink.
Marc Topkin, Times staff writer