The Rays opened the final week of our review with a 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. Ben Zobrist's three-run shot, Carl Crawford's solo homer and Willy Aybar's RBI single provided the offense for the Rays, while James Shields (11-12) got the win. Shields pitched eight innings, giving up six hits, three earned runs, one homer and striking out eight. Russ Springer pitched 2/3 of an inning for his first save.
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On Thursday, the Rays lost a close one 3-2 to the Orioles. The Rays couldn't get much going except for Ben Zobrist's solo homer in the fourth. He also started a ninth-inning rally with a double and scored a run, but that was it. Matt Garza (8-12) took the loss, pitching six innings, giving up six hits, three earned runs, walking two and striking out four.
The Rays opened the final series of the season with the New York Yankees, the best team in baseball in 2009. On Friday, the Rays showed the Yanks who was boss with a decisive 13-4 win. B.J. Upton hit for the cycle and had six RBIs, and winning pitcher David Price (10-7) shut down the Yannkees' offense for seven innings to earn his 10th win. The Rays were up 12-1 after five innings, and while the Yanks plated runs in the eighth and ninth, it wasn't enough. Price pitched seven innings, giving up two hits, one earned run, walking two and striking out five.
On Saturday, the Rays again put runs on the board early and came away with a 5-3 win over the Yankees. A solid start by Jeff Niemann, a lucky double steal and some nifty bullpen work sealed the Rays' win. Niemann (13-6) got the win, pitching five innings, giving up six hits, two earned runs, walking one and striking out five. Grant Balfour pitched the ninth and struck out two for his fourth save.
With a 2-0 lead after five innings, the Rays were all set to sweep the Yankees, but the Bronx Bombers had other plans and beat the Rays 10-2. In the top of the sixth, the Yanks scored 10 runs, including an AL-record seven RBIs by Alex Rodriguez, who hit a three-run homer, and then a grand slam shot, as the Yanks put away the Rays in the final game of the season for Tampa Bay. In his sixth major league start, Wade Davis (2-2) sailed through five innings before the roof fell in. Davis gave up six hits, five runs (three of them earned) walked two, struck out five, and gave up A-Rod's first homer of the sixth. Andy Sonnanstine came in and pitched one inning, giving up three hits, five runs (none of them earned) walked one, struck out one, and gave up A-Rod's big blast. Evan Longoria had his 33rd homer of the season.
The Rays ended the season in third place with a record of 84-78, the second best season in franchise history, but not enough to make the postseason. As the old saying goes, "Wait 'til next year!"
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