ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As the MLB regular season came to an end, the Tampa Bay Rays found themselves in a familiar spot.
Going into Friday, Tampa Bay held a 2-game lead over the Cleveland Indians in the American League wild-card standings. The Oakland Athletics occupied the first wild card spot with a one-game lead over the Rays.
The Rays are no stranger to tight season endings.
In 2011, the Boston Red Sox and the Rays were fighting for the final playoff berth in the last game of the season. Baltimore had defeated Boston earlier in the night, which meant all Tampa Bay needed to clinch was a win.
Hosting the Yankees, the Rays climbed back from a 7-0 deficit in the 8th inning. Evan Longoria became the hero of the night when he knocked a home run to left field for the 8-7 walk-off.
Even more dramatic was the ending to the 2013 season, which is the last time Tampa Bay made the postseason.
The Rays and Texas Rangers were forced to play a tiebreaker game 163. Reigning AL Cy Young winner Davis Price pitched one of his best outings for the Rays. He threw a complete game, allowing seven hits and a walk while striking out four. The Rays won, 5-2, to move on to the playoffs.
To clinch a playoff berth Friday night, the Rays need to beat the Blue Jays in Toronto, and the Indians need to lose against the Washington Nationals. If the Indians win, the Rays can still clinch with a second win against the Blue Jays on Saturday.