Tampa Bay wins Wild Card and advances to ALDS
CLEVELAND, Ohio (USA) -
Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday-evening, October 2, won the Wild Card in the American League by winning the one-game Wild Card Play-Off against Cleveland Indians, 4-0.
The Rays now will travel at bit more eastwards to Boston, where they will meet Boston Red Sox in the best-of-five American League Division Series.
The first game of this series will be played on Friday-afternoon.
In the evening, Oakland A's open their ALDS against Detroit Tigers.
The two National League Division Series open on Thursday.
St. Louis Cardinals will then host Pittsburgh Pirates, while Atlanta Braves plays at home vs. Los Angeles Dodgers.
For several days in the final weeks of the regular season, Tampa Bay was in position to win the first Wild Card.
It was trailed in the Wild Card-race by five teams back then, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals.
After the Orioles, Yankees and Royals were eliminated, a tight battle for both Wild Cards followed.
In the end, even a 3-way tie between the Rays, Rangers and Indians was possible.
But on the final day of the regular season, Cleveland captured the first Wild Card, while the Rays and Rangers indeed ended in a tie.
And so, a tiebreaker was needed.
Tampa Bay defeated Texas and advanced to the Wild Card Play-Off in which it now also eliminated Cleveland.
Tampa Bay opened the score in the third inning when Delmon Young led off with a homerun off of starting pitcher Danny Salazar.
Two runs were then added in the next at bat.
With one out, James Loney and Evan Longoria both singled.
Next batter Ben Zobrist flied out, but Loney was able to advance to third base.
But then both Loney and Longoria scored when Desmond Jennings followed with a double.
These were more or lesse the only innings in which the Rays were able to do some damage.
The team was retired in order in both the first and second inning, then the runs were scored in the third and fourth inning.
In the fifth, Jose Molina led off with a walk, but then two strikeouts followed and Molina himself was caught stealing.
The sixth was another one-two-three inning.
In the seventh, Jennings led off with a single, followed by three outs.
In the eighth, the Rays got their first two batters on base when David DeJesus was hit by a pitch and Wil Myers singled, but this time a double play and line out followed.
But Tampa Bay was productive again in the top of the ninth and added an insurance run.
Off of new pitcher Cody Allen, Zobrist singled.
After a strikeout, Allen was relieved by Joe Smith, who saw Zobrist advance to third base when an error was made on a force play-grounder by Delmon Young.
A single by Yunel Escobar then increased the lead to 4-0, before two outs followed.
For Cleveland, Danny Salazar retired the side in the first inning, including two strikeouts.
In the home half, however, the Indians got a call against them.
With a 2-2 count, Nick Swisher hit a foul tip, which was caught just above the ground by catcher Josť Molina.
But when Home Plate Umpire Gerry Davis asked for help at 3B Umpire Greg Gibson it was ruled a foul ball.
This brought out Tampa Bay's Manager Joe Maddon to argue the decision.
The 6-man umpire crew discussed the situation and it was ruled that Molina indeed had caught the ball.
And so, the foul ball was reversed and thus it was a strikeout.
After leaving a runner at second base in the second inning, Cleveland got the bases loaded in the home of the fourth, but then a double play ended the at bat.
In the fifth inning, Yan Gomes led off with a double and Lonnie Chisenhall followed with a single, but these runners also stranded, as three outs followed.
Cleveland outhit Tampa Bay 9-8.