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Rays Beat Yankees 8-7 In Extras, Clinch AL Wild Card

Tampa Bay Rays
J. Meric, Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays clinched the AL wild card with a stunning rally Wednesday night, overcoming a late seven-run deficit and then beating the New York Yankees 8-7 on Evan Longoria’s home run in the 12th inning.

The Rays’ win came a matter of minutes after Boston blew a one-run lead in the ninth at Baltimore and lost 4-3. The Red Sox, who held a nine-game lead over the Rays in early September, and Tampa Bay began the final day of the regular season tied for the wild card.

Longoria hit a three-run homer in the eighth that capped a six-run burst. Pinch-hitter Dan Johnson’s two-out, two-strike solo homer in the ninth tied it for Tampa Bay. Longoria won it with a one-out shot barely inside the left-field foul pole.

What will get lost in the shuffle from Tampa Bay’s insane comeback victory is the performance of Yankee first baseman Mark Teixeira. In the second inning, Tex helped blow up the early Yankee lead to 5-0 with a Grand Slam. Then in the fourth inning, he did it again with a solo shot and extended the lead to 6-0. Andruw Jones would add on a solo homerun of his own in the fifth inning, but the Yankees would not score anymore after that.

The MLB playoffs will open on Friday with both matchups in the AL Divisional Series. The Rays will now travel to Arlington and face the Texas Rangers at approximately 5:07pm. In the nightcap, the Yankees will host the Detroit Tigers at around 8:37pm.

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