9/28/11. What will it be remembered for?
The day that a man was accused of plotting a terror attack on the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon, the day that The Supreme Court was asked to rule on health care, the day that Tom Brady (finally!) cut his hair?
What will 9/28/11 be remembered for?
Because last night was arguably the greatest night in baseball history.
Going in to the night, the Braves and Cardinals were tied for the NL Wild Card spot. Also, the Red Sox and
Rays were tied for the AL Wild Card spot.
The Braves were playing at home against the Phillies. The Cardinals were in Houston against the Astros.
The Rays were playing at home against the Yankees. The Red Sox were playing in Baltimore against the Orioles.
And the rest was up to fate, here’s what happened next:
7:10- The first pitches in Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and Baltimore were thrown.
7:19- Ryan Howard hits a double to put the Phillies up, 1-0.
7:21- Yankees go up on Rays, 1-0 after Curtis Granderson scores on an error by Ben Zobrist.
7:27- Chipper Jones hits a sacrifice fly, which ties the Braves with Philly, 1-1.
The excitement after just 17 minutes was unbelievable.
7:49- Dustin Pedroia hits a single, to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead on the Orioles.
7:54- Mark Teixeira hits a grand slam to left field to give the Yankees a 5-0 lead on the Rays.
After that dagger, all hope seemed to be lost in Tampa.
8:03- Dan Uggla hits a 3-run home run to give the Braves a 3-1 lead over the Phillies.
8:06- J.J. Hardy hits a 2-run homer to put the Orioles up on the Red Sox, 2-1.
8:06- The first pitch in Houston is thrown for the Cardinals-Astros game.
8:20- Orioles pitcher Alfredo Simon balks, which sends Marco Scutaro home, which tied the game, 1-1.
8:24- Nick Punto singles for the Cardinals, which caps off a 5-run inning for St. Louis.
8:35- Mark Teixeria hits his second home run of the game to give the Yankees a 6-0 lead.
Then, all hope was certainly lost for the Rays.
8:36- A Dustin Pedroia homer gives the Red Sox a 3-2 lead.
Then, the Red Sox surely would win the AL Wild Card.
8:52- Andruw Jones hits a solo home run to give the Yankees a 7-0 lead.
9:07- A Jack Wilson error leads to a Phillies run, which cuts the Braves’ lead to 3-2.
9:07- At this point, the Cardinals are leading, 7-0.
In Atlanta, nerves were running high. Sweat was dripping down players’ and fans’ backs, and it was
almost time to panic.
9:34- A rain delay in Baltimore pauses the game.
9:56- Chase Utley hits a sacrifice fly, scores Pete Orr, and now the game is tied.
Then, panic in Atlanta was at an all-time high.
10:11- Atlanta’s Jack Wilson strikes out in the bottom of the 9th a man on third.
Blew a chance at a win. Once again.
10:17- A Bases-loaded walk puts the Rays on the scoreboard and the score is now 7-1 Yankees.
10:18- Allen Craig hits a home run to seal the deal as the Cardinals defeat the Astros, 8-0.
The Braves now needed to win to make it another day.
10:23- Evan Longoria hits a 3-run home run to bring the score to 7-6 Yankees.
The Rays then had a new life.
10:33- Chipper Jones hits a deep fly ball in what looks like a game-winning hit, but Michael Martinez makes an
amazing catch to rob him. The score remains 3-3 in the 11th inning.
10:47- With a 2-2 count, 2 outs, down to their last pitch of the season, pinch hitter Dan Johnson hits a home run for the Rays to tie the game, 7-7.
The Rays then had a new(er) life.
10:58- The Red Sox- Orioles game resumes in the bottom of the 7th.
11:18- Boston’s Marco Scutaro is running home, barely gets tagged out at the plate, and the Red Sox lead remains 3-2.
11:28- Hunter Pence hits a blooper into right field to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead.
The Braves were now 3 outs away from completing one of the most epic collapses in MLB history.
11:40- The Braves’ Freddie Freeman grounds into a game-ending double play, the Braves lose, 4-3.
The Cardinals were now in the playoffs. Their comeback and Braves collapse was now complete.
The NL Wild Card race is now over.
11:59- With a man on second, Baltimore’s Nolan Reimold hits a double to tie the game, 3-3 in the bottom of the
12:02- Only 3 minutes later, Robert Andino hits a single to left field to bring Reimold home. The Orioles had now won, 4-3.
The Red Sox walked off the field, heads hung low, the entire city of
Boston scowling at them fiercely. After building a stellar all-star lineup during the offseason, they had let the entire city of Boston down.
12:05- Only 3 minutes after the Red Sox walked into the clubhouse, they watched as Evan Longoria hit a walk-off home run to seal the deal. The Rays had defeated the Yankees, 8-7 in a miracle comeback.
The Rays were down 9 games in the Wild Card, they were down 7-0 in this game, heck, they were down to their last strike, but they just wanted it so badly.
After what many are calling the greatest night in MLB history, the Red Sox and Braves have completed the 1st and 2nd biggest collapses in MLB history.
On the other side, the Rays and Cardinals have come back from down 9 games (Rays) and down 8.5 games
(Cardinals), to pull of miracle comebacks.
On September 1st, the Rays had a 1 in 278 million chance of making the playoffs.
In the words of the legendary Al Michaels,
“Do you believe in miracles?”
By Sam Brief