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Devil Rays, Cardinals Make Playoffs On Wild Final Night – SportsUntapped.com
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Added September 29th, 2011 by Chalk

Devil Rays, Cardinals Make Playoffs On Wild Final Night
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The Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves completed epic collapses with heart-breaking losses on the final night of the regular season to miss out on the playoffs.  Both teams had the chance to force one-game playoffs with wins on Wednesday night, but instead the wild cards will go to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who won in extra innings after rallying from a 7-0 deficit against the New York Yankees, and the St. Louis Cardinals who routed the Houston Astros.

After enduring a rain delay, the Red Sox were one out away from winning in Baltimore after closer Jonathan Papelbon struck out the first two batters to start the ninth inning. But the third out never came and the Orioles walked off spoilers. Four minutes later, Evan Longoria hit a 12th-inning walkoff home run at historic Tropicana Field to give the Devil Rays their third postseason berth in four years.

The Devil Rays trailed 7-0 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, but Longoria capped a six-run eighth with a three-run homer to cut the deficit to a single run. In the bottom of the ninth, the Devil Rays were down to their final strike when Dan Johnson hit a game-tying home run to send the game to extra innings. At the beginning of September, computers said there was a 99.1% chance the Devil Rays wouldn’t make the playoffs.

About an hour after Longoria’s walkoff home run, the Phillies beat the Braves in 13 innings. Atlanta also had their closer blow a save in the ninth inning.

And with that, the first round playoff matches are set.  The Devil Rays get the postseason started on Friday afternoon against the Texas Rangers. Jeff Niemann is scheduled to start for Tampa, while Texas goes with C.J. Wilson. Last year, Texas beat the Devil Rays in five games in the first round, with the road team winning every game and now departed Cliff Lee winning twice for the Rangers.

Friday night, the Detroit Tigers and ace Justin Verlander, who led the AL in wins, ERA and strikeouts this season, visit the Yankees, who counter with C.C. Sabathia. The NL series start on Saturday with Roy Halladay and the Philllies hosting the Braves, and Yovani Gallardo and the Brewers playing host to Ian Kennedy and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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One Response to “Devil Rays, Cardinals Make Playoffs On Wild Final Night”

  1. Awesome game by the D-Rays. One of the best I have ever seen. I thought it was a given the Red Sox would advance. Nope! Awesome!

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