September 4th, 2011 marked the day that the Boston Red Sox were ahead of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays by nine games in the American League Wild Card race. That was all about to changeâ€¦
Tonight marked a special day in baseball – some might say a â€œplayoffâ€ day – where people in Tampa Bay and Baltimore were lining up to witness some type of miracle.Â Merely a few weeks ago, the Boston Red Sox fans were all but buying their tickets to watch their team play in October. A 7-20 record in the month of September quickly changed that.
On September 26, Â the Red Sox and the Rays entered the night tied for the Wild Card spot in the American League. Boston quickly got ahead of the Baltimore Orioles with a 1-0 lead. That lead quickly changed in the 3rd inning as J.J. Hardy hit a two-run shot into deep left center, giving the Orioles a 2-1 lead.
The Red Sox quickly rebounded on a balk by pitcher Alfredo Simon to tie the score at two. After the fourth inning, Boston Â took a 3-2 lead with a solo home run by Dustin Pedroia. That, however, would be the last lead they would have in the 2011 season, as they eventually gave up two runs in the ninth inning, losing 4-3 to Baltimore.
In Tampa Bay, the AL East-leading New York Yankees were just going through the motions and getting ready for the playoffs. With David Price on the mound, the Rays felt good about their chances.Â However, Mark Teixeira decided he would put a kink in the Rays’ playoff dreams, hitting a grand slam Â and giving the Yankees a 5-0 lead.Â After Teixeria homered again, and Andruw Jones also homered, New Yorkwent into the 8th inning with a seven run lead, and all of the momentum.
The Devil Rays make progress in the 8th inning by walking in two runs. But Â Evan Longoria blew the roof off of Tropicana Field, hitting a three-run shot to bring the score to within one run at 7-6. In the ninth inning with a 2-2 count and two outs, , pinch hitter Dan Johnson hit a solo shot into the right corner of the ballpark, tying the game and sending it into extra innings.
After that it was all over in a split second.Â Literally two minutes after the Orioles beat the Red Sox, Evan Longoria saw the score, and hit a walk-off solo home run., With that, the Rays miraculously found themselves in the playoffs, and courtesy of the ultimate collapse Â by the Boston Red Sox.