|Tampa Bay (89-71) «||0||0||0||1||0||0||3||1||x||5||7||1|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Joe Maddon planned to sleep well, regardless of whether the Tampa Bay Rays got the help they need to keep their playoff hopes alive.
"I'll find out tomorrow morning," said Maddon, who then was asked if he expected to sleep well. "Absolutely. Like a baby."
Bad news awaited the manager when he woke up Tuesday -- his team was eliminated from postseason contention.
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The Rays won for the 11th time in 12 games, beating Baltimore 5-3 on Monday night. That stretch kept them in contention for the AL's second wild-card until Oakland beat Texas 4-3 later Monday night.
Baltimore already is assured of being in the playoffs for the first time in 15 years, but still has its sights on outlasting the Yankees for the AL East title. The Orioles fell a game out of first place behind New York when the Yankees beat Boston.
"We've played 12 playoff games and we've won 11 of them," said Maddon, whose team has outscored opponents 80-31 during the surge. " But we do need help, there's no question about that. Again, regardless, I just love the way our guys are going about their business."
Fernando Rodney gave up singles to Adam Jones and Wieters to put the potential tying runs on base. The Rays closer struck out Jim Thome and Mark Reynolds before getting Endy Chavez to hit a grounder back to mound to end the game. It was Rodney's 47th save in 49 opportunities.
"We didn't take care of our business. We lost," Jones said. "When it comes to the Yankees, we can't control them. We can't control if they win or lose."
The Orioles arrived in St. Petersburg for the season-ending series later than expected Sunday night after their plane had to divert to Jacksonville because of a fire in the galley.
They officially clinched at least a wild-card berth when the Los Angeles Angels lost the second game of a doubleheader to the Texas Rangers late Sunday, and manager Buck Showalter, coaches and players celebrated by having a short meeting and toasting the accomplishment at the team hotel.
"We've clinched a spot, but we've got an opportunity to win the East. That's big," Jones said before the game. "You get to put up a banner at Camden Yards. It speaks something about the team. It means you finished ahead of the Yankees and Boston and Tampa Bay, everybody."
Cobb retired 10 in a row before Hardy singled between shortstop and third base for Baltimore's first hit. The 24-year-old right-hander walked Thome with one out in the fifth and Nate McLouth with one out in the sixth. McLouth stole second, but was stranded when Hardy grounded to shortstop and Davis took a third called strike.
Wieters' career-high 23rd homer home run cleared the short wall in the left-field corner known as 162 Landing, the spot where Evan Longoria hit the 12th-inning homer that the sent the Rays to the playoffs on the final night of last season.
"It is frustrating when it's out of your hands, but we put ourselves in that position. We could have held our own destiny," Cobb said. "Even coming into the last road trip we had that chance, but we let a couple slip that we wish we could have had back, but we're doing all we can now with what we have."
While Maddon is hoping for another dramatic finish, the manager said he won't fret if the Rays fall short of earning their fourth berth in five seasons.
"Honestly, it just is what it is. We had opportunities early in the year to win more games, and we did not. But so did everybody else," Maddon said.
"Everybody else is going to be bemoaning the same points if they don't get there at this juncture. So for me, it's about staying right here, keeping the blinders on. It's about moving it forward, organizationally speaking. We've stil got a heartbeat. Let's see what happens. I expect to come out [Tuesday] with another game that means something."
|Ben Zobrist homers in the fourth inning to help the Rays get past the O's for their 11th win in 12 games. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
|Nate McLouth, LF||3||0||0||0||1||0||0||.244|
|J.J. Hardy, SS||4||1||2||0||0||0||1||.240|
|Chris Davis, RF||4||1||1||2||0||2||2||.272|
|Adam Jones, CF||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.288|
|Matt Wieters, C||4||1||2||1||0||1||0||.250|
|Xavier Avery, PR||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.223|
|Jim Thome, DH||3||0||0||0||1||2||2||.263|
|Mark Reynolds, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||3||.224|
|Ryan Flaherty, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.224|
|a- Robert Andino, PH-2B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.211|
|b- Endy Chavez, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.203|
|Manny Machado, 3B||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||.267|
|a-flied out for Flaherty in the 8th|
|b-grounded out for Andino in the 9th|
|HR - Chris Davis (32, Farnsworth), Matt Wieters (23, Cobb)|
|RBI - Chris Davis 2 (84), Matt Wieters (83)|
|SB - Nate McLouth (12, 2nd base off Cobb/Gimenez)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Hardy-Flaherty-Reynolds|
|E - Manny Machado (5, Misplayed grounder)|
|Wei-Yin Chen (L,12-11)||6.2||6||4||1||1||4||1||4.02|
|Pitches-Strikes - Wei-Yin Chen 101-71, Luis Ayala 6-4, Pedro Strop 13-8, Troy Patton 12-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wei-Yin Chen 5-11, Luis Ayala 1-0, Pedro Strop 1-0, Troy Patton 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Wei-Yin Chen 27, Luis Ayala 1, Pedro Strop 3, Troy Patton 3|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.248|
|B.J. Upton, CF||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.247|
|Ben Zobrist, SS||4||1||2||1||0||0||1||.273|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||2||1||0||0||2||0||0||.283|
|Jeff Keppinger, 1B||3||0||1||0||0||0||2||.328|
|Rich Thompson, PR||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||.091|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||1||0||0||1||0||0||0||.199|
|Ben Francisco, DH||2||0||0||1||1||1||0||.241|
|Sam Fuld, RF||4||1||1||0||0||2||2||.266|
|Ryan Roberts, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.236|
|Chris Gimenez, C||3||0||2||2||0||0||0||.253|
|Jose Molina, C||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.223|
|2B - B.J. Upton (29, Strop), Chris Gimenez (4, Chen)|
|HR - Ben Zobrist (20, Chen)|
|SF - Ben Francisco (2)|
|RBI - Ben Zobrist (74), Carlos Pena (61), Ben Francisco (15), Chris Gimenez 2 (9)|
|2-OUT RBI - Chris Gimenez 2 (5)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|E - Evan Longoria (8, Throwing)|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Alex Cobb (W,11-9)||7||2||1||1||2||7||1||4.03|
|Jake McGee (H,19)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||1.99|
|Fernando Rodney (S,47)||1||2||0||0||0||2||0||0.61|
|Pitches-Strikes - Alex Cobb 88-62, Jake McGee 16-10, Kyle Farnsworth 6-6, Fernando Rodney 18-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Alex Cobb 10-4, Jake McGee 1-1, Fernando Rodney 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Alex Cobb 25, Jake McGee 3, Kyle Farnsworth 2, Fernando Rodney 5|
|Attendance - 13666|
|Game Time - 2:49|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Angel Hernandez, First Base - Ed Hickox, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Mark Carlson|