At 11:45 pm eastern time, Carlos Pena took a Mike Timlin fastball over the Green Monster for a three run home run, breaking a 1-1 tie in the 14th inning at Fenway Park. With that home run, the Rays were able to go on and take two of three from the Red Sox and open up a 2 1/2 game lead over Boston in the AL East.
In terms of making the playoffs, the series didn’t matter all that much, as the wild card makes this pennant race mostly irrelevant. The loser of the AL East race will still qualify for postseason baseball, and while I’m sure both teams want to win the division, the stakes aren’t as high as they might be without the wild card.
However, for Tampa Bay fans, it’s hard to overestimate just how much fun those games were. As a Mariner fan growing up in Seattle, 1995 was like living a movie, with walkoff wins and upsets over the teams that always came into the Kingdome and cleaned house. For Rays fans, I’m sure the late game longballs from Dan Johnson on Tuesday and Pena last night will be prominently featured in their postseason hightlight reel.
It’s things like Tampa’s emergence this year, and especially games like the last two days, that make baseball so great. No matter how bad your team is now, we’ve all got memories of improbable wins and late game heroics – I’m happy for Tampa fans that they finally get to experience the joy of meaningful wins in September.
Print This Post