Don’t tell the Tampa Bay Rays or Evan Longoria that this game was meaningless. Even with their postseason chances gone, they produced a strong performance in their 4-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.
Longoria hit three solo home runs in his first three at bats, and missed becoming only the seventeenth player in major league history with four home runs in a game with his groundout to end the bottom of the eighth inning. Ryan Roberts added a solo home run of his own to account for the Rays offense.
Jeremy Hellickson had a strong performance to close out the season, allowing only a single to Adam Jones in the fourth inning. Overall, he pitched 5.1 scoreless innings, allowing just the one hit and a walk while striking out six batters. Fernando Rodney recorded the final out for his 48th save, and clinched the lowest ERA in MLB history for any pitcher who recorded 50+ innings of work.
The Orioles managed to put a run on the board in the top of the ninth against Joel Peralta. J.J. Hardy led off the inning with a double, and advanced to third on defensive indifference. Following a strikeout, Hardy came around to score on a sacrifice fly. A single to Matt Wieters chased Peralta, but Rodney was able to slam the door by getting Jim Thome to fly out to left to end the game.
The Rays ended their season as one of the hottest teams in baseball, winning 13 of their last 15 games. Hopefully, they will be able to carry this momentum into 2013.