Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (3), right fielder Matt Joyce (20) and first baseman Carlos Pena (23) congratulate each other after they all scored in the sixth inning against the Minnesota Twins at Tropicana Field.
This is the time of year when the radio coming out of the Rays' clubhouse blasts. This season, the tune of choice following a Tamp Bay victory is Enrique Iglesias hit "Tonight I'm loving You." And the Rays seem to love this time of year. Since changing their name from the Devil Rays to the Rays, the club has made the playoffs in three out those four years. Each time they went to the post season, they turned in a winning September.
Only in 2009 when they were absent from the playoff picture did they fail to win 13 games or more. Last season the Rays' accomplished the unthinkable, on September 3 they trailed the Red Sox by 9 games in the wildcard race. Tampa Bay overcame the deficit and completed the remarkable comeback on the final night of the season in order to win the playoff wildcard.
"It's kind of interesting this time of the year," said Rays' manager Joe Maddon. "I love the energy of the games, I know it's not playoff time yet but they definitely have that type of feel to them."
Maddon and the Rays' took the first two games of their series with the Yankees. Coupled with the two New York losses and two Baltimore wins, it's become tight at the top of the American League East standings once again. The Orioles pounded the Blue Jays 12-0 on Tuesday night, placing them in a tie for first in the division. The Rays now pull within a game and half behind Baltimore and New York, not only for the top spot in the A.L. East, but for one of the wildcard playoff spots. ((Heading into the Rays' Tuesday night game with New York they trailed Baltimore and Oakland by 1.5 games in the wildcard. An Oakland loss pulls the Rays within a half game of the wildcard playoff position))
Tuesday's win marked Tampa Bay's fourth straight victory and it was the first time they were out hit during that stretch. As the Yankees posted a six in the hit column to the Rays' five, yet it was the number of home runs that dictated the game. As Tampa Bay blasted three homers en route to the 5-2 win.
"You know another great pitching performance for us, the bullpen came in and got outs that they needed, the bats sparked up when we needed them to and things are kind of clicking together right now," said Rays' centerfielder BJ Upton to SunSports.
So far those bats have smacked 42 hits during their current winning streak. If the magic number to get to the postseason is 13 wins in September, than the Rays' need to hear the clubhouse radio blast Enrique Iglesias 9 more times in their final 26 games.