29 September 2011

Greatest Night of Baseball EVER

Just in case you missed it, here is what went down on the night of September 28, 2011.
Here's at least how the night started. The Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals were tied for the National League Wild Card while the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays were tied for the American League Wild Card. What's important to note is that the Red Sox held a nine game lead over Tampa Bay on September 3 while the Braves were up by eight and a half on St. Louis on September 6. If both teams ended up on the outside of the postseason they would be two of the biggest collapses in baseball history, with Boston being the first team to miss the playoffs when entering the month of September with a nine game lead. Boston had gone 7-19 in the final month while Atlanta had gone 9-17 in the final month going into game 162. The likelihood of having two one-game playoffs for the first time ever is there.
The Cardinals took on the league-worst Houston Astros and did to them what anybody should do to them, which is dominate them. Chris Carpenter was dominant in a complete game shutout, striking out 11 and only allowing two hits. St. Louis wins 8-0 but their playoff hopes rest on the...
Atlanta Braves, who were taking on the Philadelphia Phillies at home. The Braves led the Phils 3-1 in the bottom of the third after Chipper Jones scored Michael Bourn on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the first and after Uggla hit a two run jack in inning number three. Philadelphia scored in the seventh and in the ninth to force extra innings. In the top of the 13th, Hunter Pence hit an infield single scoring catcher Brian Schneider to give Philly the lead. In the bottom half Chipper Jones struck out, Dan Uggla walked and Freddie Freeman hit into a double play. So Braves out, Cardinals in.
Now to the American League where the Red Sox were taking on the Orioles. The Red Sox score first in the third, the Orioles score a pair in the bottom half of the third, and then Boston scored two more runs in the next two innings to lead midway through the fifth, 3-2. Note that there is an hour and a half rain delay in the seventh. To the bottom of the ninth where Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon is on the hill. With two outs, Chris Davis hits a double. He is then pinch run for and his runner scores when Nolan Reimold. Robert Andino then hits a single into left, the throw from Carl Crawford is off target and the Red Sox lose, 4-3.
Meanwhile Tampa Bay is taking on the New York Yankees and early on look awful. Heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Yankees lead 7-0 thanks in part to a pair of homers from Mark Teixeira, one of them a grand slam. Remember that rain delay in Baltimore? Well as the rain delay starts, Tampa is still down by seven. In the bottom of the eighth, the Rays score six runs, most of them on a three run homer by Evan Longoria. So to the bottom of the ninth with the Rays down one. Dan Johnson pinch hits for Sam Fuld with two outs and hits a game tying homer to right field with two outs. Back to the rain delay, when play commences in Baltimore the Rays and Yankees are tied. A little free baseball ensues when in the bottom of the 13th, Evan Longoria hits a solo shot into the left field seats, sending the Rays to the playoffs and the Red Sox back to Beantown on the verge of the greatest collapse in MLB history.
Just to note, the the last three games ended within about 20 minutes of each other and the Red Sox' loss and the Rays' win were mere minutes apart. And yes, that did happen.
Remember how we thought that having two one-game playoffs would be exciting? How about having no one-game playoffs and it being more exciting?
And to be honest, I'm still stunned after what all has gone down. Truly magical evening.
And look how excited the MLB Network crew was.

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