TORONTO — The Rays went into play Saturday knowing a couple of things were for sure.
They are the top American League wild-card team, the No. 4 seed and will open a best-of-three Wild Card Series on Tuesday at Tropicana Field.
And that beating the Blue Jays, which they did 7-5 in 10 innings, would put Toronto’s bid to clinch a playoff berth in front of the Rogers Centre sellout crowd of 42,097 on hold.
But the Blue Jays’ celebration was put off for only a few hours. With the Mariners losing to the Rangers later Saturday, the Jays (89-72) clinched a spot in the six-team field.
What is still unknown, and somewhat important, is who the Rays are playing Tuesday. The Astros, who beat the Diamondbacks, and Rangers are possibilities, along with the Blue Jays.
How that impacts the way the Blue Jays play today’s regular-season finale — whether rest and readiness are more important than playing at the Rays (with a win) or Twins (potentially with a loss) to start the playoffs — remains to be seen. Most likely, both teams will spend the game trying not to show anything that could be used against them and trying to make sure no one gets hurt.
The Rays and Blue Jays have played 12 times this season, including six in the last 10 days, and are 6-6.
“We know what they’ve got,” Rays outfielder Josh Lowe said. “They know what we have. So it should be a really good matchup. I like our chances against anybody, so I’m ready for the postseason. I think everybody else in here is, too.”
The Rays enjoyed their win Saturday, extending the uncertainty over who was headed where.
“We’re kind of just going out there and trying to cause some chaos right now, so it’s pretty fun,” Lowe said. “We’ve just got to do the best we can. We did that (Saturday). We took care of business. Come out (today) and do the same thing.”
The win, the Rays’ 98th of the season (second most in franchise history), was also notable in delaying the Blue Jays’ party.
Taylor Walls, who had the biggest hit in the Rays’ three-run 10th inning, said as much to teammate Osleivis Basabe after the final out: “I’m like, ‘It’s really quiet right now.’ "
As 20-year-old rookie Junior Caminero, who knocked in an insurance run, said via team interpreter Manny Navarro: “It’s all good. It’s all good for us. We’re doing everything we can to win and get the victory. We don’t really care about the fans over here. We’re just over here trying to do our job and win the game.”
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The Rays took an early 2-0 lead. The Blue Jays rallied for three runs and a 4-2 lead in a messy fourth against Cooper Criswell, who was called up to work three innings on what otherwise was a bullpen day, though a Walls error on a potential double-play grounder was a factor. The Rays tied it in the fifth on a two-run homer by Harold Ramirez, who had three hits.
In the 10th, pinch-hitter Jonathan Aranda lined out to center off hard-throwing Toronto righty Jordan Hicks. With Basabe the runner placed at second, the Jays intentionally walked Lowe, who has been hot. The Rays pinch-hit lefty Raimel Tapia, who worked a seven-pitch walk.
That set up the Rays to pinch-hit team MVP Yandy Diaz, though he struck out. Walls, 0-for-4 to that point with the error, softy lined a 100.3-mph sinker to right-center, scoring two. Caminero hit a soft bouncer toward third and hustled to beat the throw from slick-fielding Matt Chapman, scoring another run.
“Hicks, that’s electric stuff,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We had some good at-bats, Tapia, probably highlighted by his to draw the walk. You get Yandy coming up there, you’re feeling really good. He makes an out, and then ‘Wallsy,’ happy to see him come up with a big, big hit for us to get the two-run lead.
“And then Junior legging (it) out. The wrong guy you want to hit to is Chapman, but if you’re going to do it, I guess hit it where he’s got to run the long way to get it.”
Chris Devenski, the seventh Rays pitcher, worked the final two innings, allowing one run in the 10th to seal the win.
Cash said he was focused more on what the Rays, especially the young ones, did than what the game could mean.
“We want these guys to continue getting reps,” he said. “This is a pretty good atmosphere against a very good team. So all those things work, I think, in any young player’s favor.”
Contact Marc Topkin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.
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