Despite the Baltimore Orioles clinching a playoff berth Sunday night, the Rays did not let that discourage them. Steady offensive action powered the Rays past the Orioles in a 5-3 win to keep their hopes for a playoff appearance alive. However, the Oakland Athletics’ 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers will keep the Rays from clinching a playoff berth.
Alex Cobb took the mound for Tampa Bay, looking for his eleventh win of the season. He delivered a strong performance with seven strikeouts and two walks in seven innings, including walking Nate McNouth in the top of the sixth inning. However, he gave up a game-tying one run homerun to Matt Wieters in the following inning.
Tampa Bay had an explosive seventh inning, as Evan Longoria reached first base on a throwing error by Baltimore’s third baseman Manny Machado. Jeff Keppinger singled to right field, and Longoria advanced to third base, and scored off of Ben Francisco’s sacrifice fly in the next play. Chris Gimenez doubled later in the inning, allowing Rich Thompson and Sam Fuld to score.
BJ Upton continued the offensive action as he doubled in the eighth inning and eventually scored after Carlos Pena grounded into a fielder’s choice.
The top of the ninth inning threatened Tampa Bay’s lead as Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy reached second base because of a throwing error by Longoria. Chris Davis hit a two run homerun off of Tampa Bay’s Kyle Farnsworth, allowing Hardy to score.
Fernando Rodney relieved Farnsworth and preserved the Rays’ lead by striking out two of the last three batters faced in the inning.
Despite the news that the Rays cannot clinch a playoff berth, the Rays look to finish the season strong as James Shields takes the mound tonight.