Twins
Rays
2 - 7 Final
  for this game

Rays hammer Twins, clinch first postseason berth

Sep 21, 2008 - 1:23 AM By Ted Fleming PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- It took 11 years to reach the mountain but the Tampa Bay Rays will be one of the eight teams that will qualify for the 2008 postseason.

Scott Kazmir tossed six scoreless innings and Carlos Pena doubled in a pair of runs as the Rays clinched the first playoff berth in franchise history with a 7-2 win over the Minnesota Twins on Saturday.

"It's exactly what I thought," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I thought about my dad, and there (the win) was. I carry his hat everywhere. It was his last cap. Everything to this is in second place. (The celebration) will go on all night."

"It's well-deserved by that club over there," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They play the right way and they battle. They have a lot of good athletes, a lot of talented players - that's why they're winning. So congratulations, Tampa Bay."

In front of a rare sellout crowd of 36,048 at Tropicana Field, Joe Mauer lifted a pop-up into foul territory near the third-base dugout. Rookie sensation Evan Longoria settled under it and squeezed the ball for the out, setting off a raucous celebration.

"I gave the ball to our authenticator," Longoria said. "We'll get it authenticated and see what happens. We'll do whatever the club wants to do (with the ball)."

The next step for Tampa Bay (92-61) is to win the American League East. It currently leads the Boston Red Sox (90-64) by 2 1/2 games with nine to play.

Kazmir (12-7) was sharp from the start, striking out four through the first two innings en route to his 12th win of the season. The ace lefthander would depart with a 6-0 lead after six frames, allowing five hits while walking one and striking out five.

"I was expecting to stay in longer," Kazmir said. "But I think when it comes to the postseason it will be a little different. Hopefully, I get stretched out a little more."

Dioner Navarro paced the Tampa Bay's offensive attack with three hits and an RBI.

The Rays struck first only because the rings that hang over the field gave Pena a second life with two outs in the third inning. A foul pop clipped a ring hanging near the catwalks at Tropicana. Mauer made the catch, but the ball was ruled dead.

Pena stroked a double two pitches later to right-center field off Twins starter Kevin Slowey (12-11) to put Tampa Bay on top, 2-0.

"That's what happens with a good team," rookie Fernando Perez said. "In this game you need a lot of luck. Good teams get a lot of luck."

The Rays tacked on three more in the fifth on RBI from Longoria, Navarro and Rocco Baldelli to make it a 5-0 contest.

Perez, the team's minor league Player of the Year, launched his third homer to left - a solo shot off reliever Denys Reyes - to push it to 6-0 in the sixth.

"We got our hits and we swung the bats better," Maddon said. "But it's still about pitching and defense. You are able to win games like that because of starting pitching."

Grant Balfour and J.P. Howell each tossed a scoreless inning before Troy Percival ran into trouble in the ninth, but

lefthander Trever Miller came on to record the final two outs and give the Rays the win ... and playoff spot.

"I don't know all the facts and all the history, but I know we haven't been here ever, so it's a big thing," Longoria said. "Now we have to worry about winning the AL East and bringing this home."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    MINNESOTA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 7 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 2 0 3 1 1 0 x 7 11 2 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: MIN - KEVIN SLOWEY, DENNYS REYES (5TH), MATT GUERRIER (7TH) AND JOE
    MAUER
    TAM - SCOTT KAZMIR, GRANT BALFOUR (7TH), J.P. HOWELL
    (8TH), TROY PERCIVAL (9TH), TREVER M

    Sep 20 7:24 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY ALEXI CASILLA SCORED CARLOS GOMEZ.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, D SPAN ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 2
    TAMPA BAY 7 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: J MAUER (.329, 2-FOR-4)

    Twins 2, Rays 7  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 20 7:24 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DENARD SPAN SCORED BRENDAN HARRIS.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D SPAN ON SECOND, C GOMEZ ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 1
    TAMPA BAY 7 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR MINNESOTA: A CASILLA (.293, 1-FOR-3, BB)

    Twins 1, Rays 7  Top 9, 0 OutsSep 20 7:17 PM
  • 10
    roots
    McTool Added 5 roots

    Twins 0, Rays 7  Top 8, 0 OutsSep 20 6:43 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY CLIFF FLOYD (11) TO RIGHT WITH 1 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF MATT GUERRIER.
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 0, TAMPA BAY 7
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: D NAVARRO (.293, 3-FOR-3, RBI)

    Twins 0, Rays 7  Bot 7, 0 OutsSep 20 6:38 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY FERNANDO PEREZ (3) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 6TH OFF DENNYS REYES.
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 0, TAMPA BAY 6
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: A IWAMURA (.277, 1-FOR-2, BB)

    Twins 0, Rays 6  Bot 6, 0 OutsSep 20 6:14 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO ROCCO BALDELLI SCORED EVAN LONGORIA.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, R BALDELLI ON FIRST, D NAVARRO ON SECOND, C
    FLOYD ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 0
    TAMPA BAY 5 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: E HINSKE (.245, 1-FOR-2)

    Twins 0, Rays 5  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 20 5:59 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY DIONER NAVARRO SCORED CARLOS PENA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, D NAVARRO ON FIRST, C FLOYD ON SECOND, E
    LONGORIA ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 0
    TAMPA BAY 4 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: G GROSS (.255, 0-FOR-2)

    Twins 0, Rays 4  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 20 5:55 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY EVAN LONGORIA SCORED JASON BARTLETT.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, E LONGORIA ON SECOND, C PENA ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 0
    TAMPA BAY 3 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: C FLOYD (.277, 1-FOR-2)

    Twins 0, Rays 3  Bot 5, 0 OutsSep 20 5:50 PM


  • AL
    AT TAMPA BAY - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY CARLOS PENA SCORED ERIC HINSKE AND AKINORI
    IWAMURA.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, C PENA ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: MINNESOTA 0
    TAMPA BAY 2 BOTTOM, 3RD
    DUE UP FOR TAMPA BAY: E LONGORIA (.280, 0-FOR-1)

    Twins 0, Rays 2  Bot 3, 0 OutsSep 20 4:57 PM
  • 5
    roots
    mammoth Added 5 roots

    Twins vs. RaysSep 20 10:43 AM