BALTIMORE (AP) -The
Tampa Bay Rays
spent the night running around the bases and keeping their eyes fixed on the scoreboard.
Tampa Bay beat the
11-6 Wednesday, but Boston's win over Cleveland means the Rays will have to wait at least another day to celebrate their first
AL East title and pop open the 200 bottles of champagne waiting in the visitors clubhouse.
One more win by Tampa Bay or a loss by Boston will provide the Rays their first division crown.
''We weren't really talking about it, but you could definitely tell the guys were looking at the scoreboard and trying to
see what was going on,'' Tampa Bay center fielder B.J. Upton said. ''It didn't happen tonight, but the only thing we can do
is go out and try and win a ballgame tomorrow.''
The champagne was packed up to be sent to Detroit, where the Rays open a four-game series Thursday afternoon.
''It's hard to be disappointed any time you get a win,'' starter
said. ''We just have to keep on trucking in this next series against Detroit.''
The night began miserably for the Rays. Tampa Bay trailed 5-0 in the first inning, about the same time Boston took a 4-0 lead
over the Indians. But after Cleveland came back to tie it and the Rays overtook the woeful Orioles, it appeared that Tampa
Bay was destined to salute the most successful season in franchise history with a bubbly toast.
But the scoreboard told them otherwise: Boston 5, Cleveland 4. Final.
''It was right in front of my face,'' Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
had two hits and three RBIs for the Rays, who completed a four-game sweep. It was the major league-leading ninth time this
season the Orioles blew a four-run lead, most in the majors, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
''The disappointing thing is, it's not the first time I've seen it,'' Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.
Baltimore has lost nine straight and 28 of 34. The Orioles went 3-15 against Tampa Bay this season, losing the last 12.
Jackson (13-11) gave up six runs and 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings.
pitched 2 1-3 innings of one-hit relief to earn his second save.
''So many good things. A lot of people contributed to the win tonight up and down the board,'' Maddon said. ''Tough beginning,
wonderful ending, and that was attributable to our pitching.''
Down 6-0, the Rays rebounded with a five-run fourth. After
drew a bases-loaded walk and
hit an RBI single, two runs scored when
's comebacker bounced off pitcher
, who threw wildly to the plate. Iwamura followed with a run-scoring grounder.
Tampa Bay took a 7-6 lead in the sixth against
was hit by a pitch before Iwamura tripled to right.
The Rays added four runs in the eighth.
issued two straight bases-loaded walks before
hit a two-run single. In the midst of that inning, however, the scoreboard flashed the final from Boston.
The first six Orioles to face Jackson got hits in a five-run first inning. Three singles loaded the bases for
, who picked up his 108th RBI with a single.
followed with a run-scoring single before
drove in three runs with a double to left-center.
Scott was out at third trying for a triple, blunting Baltimore's most productive first inning since a seven-run outburst May
20 at Yankee Stadium.
In the second,
singled, stole second and scored on a single by
to make it 6-0.
Undaunted, Tampa Bay closed the game with an 11-0 run.
''Our guys really felt they were fine. I know the game started badly, but the guys in our dugout were good,'' Maddon said.
''I truly thought they had a chance to come back and do that. We're just at that point. We have to believe, and I know our
returned to the Rays after receiving treatment on his back in Tampa Bay. But it's uncertain if he's healthy enough to pitch.
''I think I'll be fine. But it's up to them what they want to do that gives them the best opportunity to win,'' Percival said.
... Sidelined since Aug. 29 with a sore shoulder, Orioles RHP
threw a simulated game Wednesday and will pitch in Sunday's finale. ... Baltimore reliever
has soreness under his right armpit and is likely done for the year.