Oct 7, 2013; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jose Lobaton (59) hits a walk off solo home run during the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox of game three of the American League divisional series at Tropicana Field. The Rays won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Rays had never hit a walkoff home run in their playoff history. Even with their run to the World Series, and all the dramatic victories to reach the postseason, the Rays had yet to turn that trick in the postseason. At least, until now.
Instead of being hit by a player such as Evan Longoria, Wil Myers or Ben Zobrist, the Rays first walkoff home run came from a player who had displayed an ability to provide the clutch hit during the regular season. A player that had proven to have a flair for the dramatic. That player was none other than Jose Lobaton.
As happens so frequently in the postseason, an unheralded player that few people have heard of nationally gets thrust into the spotlight. One swing, one very slow run from second to score the game winning run, can turn the tide of a series or even a franchise.
Now, Lobaton, a player with nine home runs in his major league career, belted a home run into the tank to not only give the Rays their first walkoff in the postseason, but to potentially change the complexion of the playoffs. Once again, in a must win game, the Rays have come through to live another day.
For now, Lobaton can find his name among players such as Geoff Blum, Francisco Cabrera and Gene Tenace as seemingly unlikely postseason heroes. People will now know who Lobaton is, and he will have his moment in the sun. Even more importantly, the Rays get another game, and a chance for another must win situation.
Jose Lobaton had come through in the clutch for the Rays this season, with a walkoff home run and a walkoff triple in the same series. Now, when the Rays needed someone to step up a the most critical juncture of their season, it was Lobaton who came through. That moment in the sun is not about to fade just yet.