American League Game Summary - Baltimore at Tampa Bay|
(Wednesday, October 3rd)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 4, Baltimore 1
St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - Evan Longoria clubbed three home runs
and the Tampa Bay Rays ended the Baltimore Orioles' hopes for an AL East title
with a 4-1 triumph in the finale of a three-game set Wednesday at Tropicana
Longoria, who scorched a game-winning, wild-card-clinching 12th-inning homer
in the Rays' final regular-season game last year, homered in each of his first
three plate appearances to help the Rays (90-72) complete their third straight
Jeremy Hellickson (10-11) struck out six and walked one over 5 1/3 scoreless
innings of one-hit ball to earn the victory.
Adam Jones knocked in the lone run for the Orioles (92-69), who managed just
two hits in each of the last two games.
The O's will visit the Rangers in the first-ever wild-card game on Friday
after Texas lost to the AL West champion Oakland Athletics earlier on
Chris Tillman (9-3) absorbed the loss after giving up three runs on four hits
with five strikeouts over five frames.
The Rays struck in their first at-bat, as Longoria stroked a two-out blast
into the left-field seats to give the home team a 1-0 lead.
Hellickson retired 11 straight batters before Chris Davis reached base on a
dropped third strike in the fourth. Davis then went to third on Jones' single
to right field, but Hellickson grounded out Matt Wieters to escape the frame.
In the fourth, Longoria crushed a change-up deep into the left-field
bleachers to double the Rays' advantage.
After Matt Joyce fanned, Ryan Roberts launched a towering fly ball that barely
cleared the wall in left field for a 3-0 lead.
Hellickson walked Manny Machado to start the sixth before popping out Nate
McLouth. Jake McGee then took over on the mound and flied out J.J. Hardy
before striking out Davis to end the sixth.
Longoria clubbed his third home run of the night in the bottom half when he
belted a slider over the wall in straightaway center field for a 4-0 edge.
Longoria had a shot at a record-tying fourth home run in the eighth, but he
grounded out weakly to third to end the frame.
Hardy stroked a leadoff double in the ninth, moved to third on defensive
indifference and scored two batters later on Jones' sacrifice fly.
Wieters followed with a single before Fernando Rodney entered from the bullpen
and flied out Jim Thome to nail down his 48th save of the season.
It was Longoria's second career three-homer game ... The Rays finished 47-27
with Longoria in the starting lineup, but went just 43-45 without him ...
Baltimore won 10 of 18 matchups with the Rays this season to win the season
series for the first time since 2007 ... Rodney set the major league record
for earned run average by a relief pitcher (min. 50 IP) with a 0.60 ERA,
surpassing former Oakland A's reliever Dennis Eckersley's mark of 0.61 set in
1990 ... Jones became the first Oriole to play in 162 games since Miguel
Tejada in 2006.
10/03 22:18:37 ET