Wednesday night was perhaps the most extraordinary night of baseball ever. And I got to watch it all.
To recap, going into the final day of the season, the Braves and Cardinals were tied for the NL Wild Card, and the Red Sox and Rays were tied for the AL Wild Card. The Braves and Red Sox were hoping to avoid massive, historic collapses.
The Cards got off to an early lead and ended up beating the Astros 8-0, so that game was over and done quickly.
The Yankees got off to a 7-0 lead over the Rays, so attention could be averted from that game to the others.
The Braves-Phils and the Red Sox-Orioles were both close throughout, with the Braves and Sox both clinging to indentical 3-2 leads.
The Red Sox-Orioles game was delayed by rain, so that was on hold for a while.
Suddenly, the Rays exploded for six runs in the eighth inning to cut the lead to 7-6. And then in the ninth, down to their last strike, Dan Johnson lined a home run to right to tie the game at seven. On to extra innings.
Back to the Braves-Phils — lights-out rookie closer Craig Kimbrel came on to close out the 3-2 game in the ninth, but he was ineffective and with two outs, the Phillies tied it with a sacrifice fly, and we we’re on to extra innings there, too.
Rain delay over, Red Sox-Orioles back in play.
In Atlanta, the Phillies scored in the 13th, the Braves could not. Season over, the Cardinals win the Wild Card, the Braves go home.
It’s down to the bottom of the ninth in Baltimore, Jonathan Papelbon on to protect the 3-2 lead. He struck out the first two batters, but then allowed two doubles to tie the game. A single followed that, and the game was over. The Red Sox now had to wait for the result in Tampa.
It didn’t take long — moments after the Sox went down, Evan Longoria hit a line drive home run to left in the bottom of the 12th to win the game 8-7 and give the Rays the Wild Card.
Whew! What a night. The Red Sox and Braves complete Metsian collapses — now let the fallout begin in Atlanta and Boston.
Oh, and Jose Reyes won the batting title.