Longoria's three bombs send O's to play-in game

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Longoria's three bombs send O's to play-in game

From Comcast SportsNet

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Evan Longoria's flair for the dramatic on the final night of the season ended Baltimore's bid to force a one-game tiebreaker for the AL East title.

Instead, the Orioles were left to begin their first playoff appearance in 15 years on the road against two-time defending league champion Texas.

Longoria homered three times and the Tampa Bay Rays shut down the Orioles 4-1 Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, where Longoria also ended last season with a bang.

Baltimore began the day one game behind the New York Yankees in the division. The Orioles needed a win, plus a loss by the Yankees to Boston, to pull even.

New York cruised to a 14-2 rout of the Red Sox and finished two games ahead of the Orioles, earning its 13th division crown in 17 years. The Yankees had a 10-game lead on July 18 but Baltimore caught up Sept. 4 and the teams were tied 10 times in September.

"We knew it was a long shot, but we ran into some really good pitching," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I've got to tip my hat to them, and what is really kind of amazing is that you look over there with what they've been able to do this year, win 90 games, and that tells you what a fine line there is in all those extra-inning games and one-run losses, and we could be in the same position they are."

The loss sent the Orioles to Texas, where they'll play the Rangers on Friday night, with the winner advancing to the best-of-five division series against the New York Yankees.

"We're going to take it one game at a time. Obviously if you lose, you're done," said Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who had homered in six straight games. "We're going to try to do everything we can to beat Texas and get back home."

Longoria finished the season in dramatic fashion for the second straight year, hitting solo shots off Chris Tillman in the first and fourth innings and adding another solo drive off Jake Arrieta in the sixth.

With a chance to tie the major league record of four homers in a game, the three-time All-Star who missed 85 games this year with a strained left hamstring grounded out in the eighth.

"It was cool," Longoria said. "That's about as fun a night as you can have in a ballgame."

Longoria's second career three-homer game came a year after he hit two of them of the final night of last season, including a 12th-inning, game-ending shot that clinched a postseason berth. The area beyond a short wall in the left-field corner where the biggest homer in franchise history landed is now called 162 Landing.

"I just think it highlights how well we play in games 162," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It was a very dramatic game, the way it all unfolded. I just like the idea that we played the last game of the season with that kind of effort and intensity."

Ryan Roberts also homered for the Rays in the fourth against Tillman (9-3).

Jeremy Hellickson (10-11) allowed one hit -- Adam Jones' fourth-inning single -- in 5 1-3 innings. Jake McGee, Wade Davis, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney teamed up to hold the Orioles to two hits -- J.J. Hardy's double and Matt Wieters' single, both in the ninth inning -- the rest of the way.

Jones ruined Tampa Bay's shot at a 16th shutout with a sacrifice fly off Peralta. After Wieters singled, Rodney was summoned to get the final out for his 48th save in 50 opportunities.

Davis, who tied an Orioles record when he homered for the sixth straight game in a 1-0 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday night, went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

Baltimore had five hits in the final two games of the regular season, but Jones is confident the offense will bounce back for the club's first postseason game since 1997.

"We ain't got no choice. You don't hit, you go home," Jones said. "It's no ifs, buts or maybes. Both teams know that."

Longoria has homered in five of his last seven plate appearances in the final game of the season. In four career Game 162s, he is 8 for 15 with six homers and nine RBIs.

"Sometimes you've got to give credit where credit is due. He put some good swings on some pitches, but I should have been better," Tillman said. "I knew what I needed to do. I just didn't get it done."

Longoria is 6 for 12 with three homers against Tillman, who lasted five innings and allowed three runs on four hits in his first loss since Kansas City beat him on Aug. 11. The right-hander who had gone 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA over his previous five starts also allowed three homers in that game, matching his career high.

The Rays (90-72) won 12 of 14 down the stretch, remaining in contention for the second AL wild card until the 160th game and finished with at least 90 wins for the third straight season.

Hellickson allowed three baserunners, two of them in the fourth inning when Jones singled to right-center after Davis struck out on a wild pitch that allowed him to reach first. The 2011 AL Rookie of the Year walked Manny Machado leading off the sixth and was replaced by McGee after getting the next batter, Nate McLouth, to pop out.

"The big tip of the cap goes to Joe Maddon and the Rays. They played 162," Jones said. "Their players went out every game to the last one and gave it all they've got."

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Jimenez is brilliant as Orioles tie Blue Jays for wild-card

Jimenez is brilliant as Orioles tie Blue Jays for wild-card

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 0

Winner: Jimenez (8-12)
Loser: Stroman (9-10)

WHAT WENT RIGHT: Ubaldo Jimenez allowed just one hit in 6 2/3  innings, walking three and striking out five. 

The only hit was to leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera.

Jimenez, who recorded just one out and allowed five first-inning runs on June 12 in his last start at Rogers Centre, retired 11 straight at one point. 

WHAT WENT WRONG: Cleveland and Detroit were rained out, possibly complicating the Orioles logistical plans. That game will be made up on Monday if it has a bearing on the wild-card or playoff seeding. 

WHAT IT MEANS: The Orioles and Blue Jays are tied for the top wild-card spot. They hold a 1 ½ game lead over the Tigers. If the Orioles win their final three games, they’re guaranteed a playoff spot. 

If Toronto and Baltimore tie, the Blue Jays host Tuesday’s wild-card game because they won the season series, 10-9. 

BRACH ENDS IT: Donnie Hart recorded one out, and Brad Brach pitched two shutout innings. 

PRODUCTIVE OUTS: The Orioles’ first two runs scored on outs. Manny Machado’s sacrifice fly in the first inning scored J.J. Hardy.

Chris Davis scored the second run when Michael Bourn hit into a fielder’s choice.

KIM AGAIN: A night after hitting a two-run, ninth-inning home run, Hyun Soo Kim drove in the Orioles’ third run in the seventh inning.  

RARE STEAL: Michael Bourn stole a base for the second straight game. Bourn is now tied for second on the club with two steals. The club leader, Joey Rickard, has four, and hasn’t played in more than two months. 

Bourn’s steal was important because he scored on Kim’s single. 

TRUMBO STRETCHES: Mark Trumbo stretched a single into a double in the eighth, and he scored the fourth run on a single by Matt Wieters. 

BAUTISTA CAN’T SOLVE JIMENEZ: Jose Bautista was 0-for-3 against Jimenez, and in his career, he’s 3-for-38 against him. 

WHAT’S NEXT? The Orioles travel to Yankee Stadium for the final three games of the regular season. Yovani Gallardo (5-8, 5.63) faces Michael Pineda (6-11, 4.68). 

RELATED: Orioles want to wrap up wild-card this weekend

 

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Paisano's Facebook Live: Ryan Kerrigan takes your pre-Week 4 questions

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Screenshot: Facebook

Paisano's Facebook Live: Ryan Kerrigan takes your pre-Week 4 questions

Ryan Kerrigan joined CSN Redskins Insider JP Finlay on Thursday evening to take your questions on Facebook Live, presented by Paisano's Pizza.

What did they get to? Here's a sampling of the questions:

- Does some deep-down part of him wish Robert Griffin III were playing this week when Cleveland comes to town?

- If the Redskins defense were a pizza topping, which would they be? 

- Who is the hardest running back to take down? 

- How did he get the idea for his sack dance?

That, plus many more, were answered in the nearly 25-minute conversation. Watch it all in the video player below:

Live with Ryan Kerrigan

Our Redskins Insider JP Finlay is talking live with Ryan Kerrigan and taking your questions.

Posted by CSN Mid-Atlantic on Thursday, September 29, 2016