published Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Rays clinch AL wild card with stunning rally

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays clinched the AL wild card with a stunning rally Wednesday night, overcoming a late seven-run deficit and then beating the New York Yankees 8-7 on Evan Longoria’s home run in the 12th inning.

The Rays’ win came four minutes after Boston blew a one-run lead in the ninth at Baltimore and lost 4-3. The Red Sox, who held a nine-game lead over the Rays in early September, and Tampa Bay began the final day of the regular season tied for the wild card.

Longoria hit a three-run homer in the eighth that capped a six-run burst. Pinch-hitter Dan Johnson’s two-out, two-strike solo homer in the ninth tied it for Tampa Bay.

Longoria won it with a one-out shot barely inside the left-field foul pole.

Tampa Bay will open the playoffs Friday at Texas.

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