Then, as if to spark things up, a bad storm swept through Baltimore and sent the Red Sox and Orioles into a one hour and twenty six minute rain delay. When that game went into the rain delay, the momentum shifted in three of the games. The Phillies started to get base runners and put some pressure on the Braves. The Rays started to get some hits and the Red Sox momentum was stopped dead in its tracks.
The Phillies got some base runners and ended up pushing a run home against Tim Hudson. Hudson went 6 1/3 before being pulled. The Braves got out of the inning and the eighth after Hunter Pence lead off with a single. The Phillies kept retiring the Braves in order until the top of the ninth. Braves rookie closer Craig Kimbrel came in and fell apart after struggling to find the bases and walking the bases loaded, Chase Utley stepped up and hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score pinch runner Pete Orr to tie the game at 3.
Back in Atlanta, the Phillies and Braves were in extra innings. The Phillies were getting the Braves, seemingly, in order and the Braves were doing the same. Everytime the Braves seemed to get momentum and get the Turner Field crowd into the game, the Phillies found a way to silence them and take back the momentum.
In Tampa, the Rays watched their first two batters in the bottom of the ninth get two quick outs. Joe Maddon opted to pinch hit for Sam Fuld. His choice? He chose Dan Johnson who hit .108 with one home run going into last night’s game. Johnson worked a 2-2 count and Corey Wade threw a fastball in on Johnson that he didn’t miss. Johnson sent a shot down the right field line that cleared the fence to tie the game at 7.
As if part of fate, the Red Sox and Orioles resumed play minutes later. The Red Sox bullpen seemed to struggle finding the strike zone. They were walking batters, hitting batters, and allowing base runners. Fortunately for them, they were able to get out of it unscathed. The score stayed 3-2 all the way until the ninth…
Back in Baltimore, Jonathan Papelbon came on to pitch the bottom of the ninth. Papelbon got two quick outs when Chris Davis came up and doubled down the right field line. Nolan Reimold came up and with two strikes and two outs, doubled into the gap in right-centerfield to score Davis and tie the game at 3. Roger Andino followed up Reimold with a single to left that Sox left fielder Carl Crawford couldn’t come up with. Reimold rounded third and beat Crawford’s throw to the plate as the Orioles stun the Red Sox with two runs in the bottom of the ninth off Jonathan Papelbon to win 4-3.
The Red Sox lost as Evan Longoria was stepping to the plate in a 7-7 game in the bottom of the 12th with one out and no one on base. Longoria fell behind in the count 1-2 and, just three minutes after the Orioles improbable win over Boston, Longoria hit the Scott Proctor pitch 327 feet down the line in left that stayed fair and landed beyond the line in left. Longoria won the game for the Orioles on a walk off home run just three minutes after the Red Sox lost. The Rays won the AL Wild Card in one of the most improbable comebacks and collapses in history.
If this was a preview for the playoffs, it is going to be a great October.