The Tampa Bay Rays extended their post-season for at least another day with an explosive late-game rally that capped their come-from-behind victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday.
The 6-3 victory cut Tampa Bay’s deficit in the American League Division Series to 2-1 before Game 4.
“We didn’t want to get swept, that would have been embarrassing,” Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford told reporters.
“That’s the way this team has been playing all year. We keep playing until the last out,” he added.
Trailing 2-1 in the eighth inning and facing a three game sweep, Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena tied the game with an RBI single, before John Jaso delivered the go-ahead single against Texas closer Neftali Feliz.
The Rays added three more runs in the ninth when Crawford and Pena both homered to prevent Texas from securing their first post-season series win.
Pena finished two-for-three with three RBIs to help Tampa Bay’s offense finally break loose after scoring one run in the first two games of the series.
Starter Matt Garza, the 2008 American League Championship Series MVP, came up big for the Rays in pitching six innings and allowing two runs. Garza struck out four, but allowed a solo blast to Ian Kinsler that put the Rangers ahead 2-1 in the seventh inning.
Feliz, who had 40 saves during the regular season, was shaky for the second straight appearance, while left-hander Darren Oliver allowed the Rays to start the rally in the eighth and was charged with two runs in one-and-a-third innings.
“I’m not concerned. It was one of those nights,” Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said of his closing pitcher.
“I don’t think we gave them anything, I think the runs they put on the board they earned. They took it. We’ll bounce back,” he added.
Tampa Bay reliever Joaquin Benoit got the win after pitching one-and-two-third scoreless innings and Rafael Soriano worked the ninth and gave up a solo homer to Nelson Cruz, before closing out the game.