All we needed was for Tampa Bay to defend their home turf when New York visited for the Rays’ final series of the season while the Orioles fended off the BoSox in Baltimore to close out their seasons. That’s all. Seems simple enough…
Game one of each crucial series is in the books. It’s official: The Rays are tied with the Red Sox in the chase for a Wild Card spot.
Excuse me while I dance around my living room for a moment.
James Shields (16-12) had yet another big game for Tampa Bay as he and the Rays beat the Yankees 5-2. The righty didn’t notch complete game number 12, but he lasted eight and two-thirds innings and gave up just six hits and two runs to the AL East Champions. Quite impressive.
Veteran player Johnny Damon spoke to FOX Sports Florida’s Laura McKeeman following his team’s victory. When asked about Tampa Bay’s offense, Damon said:
Obviously we wished we could have scored more, to give James Shields some breathing room but we’ll take five. Especially for him.
While Monday was a big night for the Rays, it was also a night in which Damon reached a personal milestone. McKeeman asked the designated hitter how it felt to tie Lou Gehrig on the all-time hit list with number 2,721.
Well ya know, playing in New York for four years and seeing all the accolades that came with Derek Jeter passing Lou Gherig a couple years ago, it’s something that I always wanted to remember. And hopefully I can carry on and get to 3,000, but I want to enjoy every step I do take.
And what does the 37-year-old have to say to the youngsters on his team about this final series of the regular season?
Just relax and have fun. The Yankees aren’t gonna lay down for us, you know. They have to prepare and get ready for the post-season also so we have to come out and be sharp.
Then Damon said smiled and said he was “absolutely” when McKeeman asked if he was man after Joe Maddon’s heart. Guess what Johnny? You have my heart too.
Joe Maddon called the 5-2 win a “Rays kind of game.” The skipper said he didn’t even want to look at the TV to follow the Red Sox vs. Orioles game in Baltimore, and just sat back and waited for David Price to scream.
After sitting nine games back from Boston in early September, the Rays now control their destiny. Baseball is a beautiful thing.