Posted October. 21, 2008 09:32,
The Tampa Bay Rays, perennial doormats in the American League East, beat the Boston Red Sox yesterday to qualify for its first trip to the World Series.
In Tampa Bay, Rays pitcher Matt Garza was simply marvelous in the 3-1 come-from-behind victory over the defending World Series champions Red Sox in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.
An expansion team that began playing in 1998, the Rays had finished last in their division every year except in 2004, when they ended up fourth. The team was a 200-to-1 longshot to win the title this season, but the seemingly impossible could happen.
Garza stifled Boston by allowing one run and two hits over seven innings, though he gave up a homer to Red Sox Dustin Pedroia in the first inning.
The Red Sox were trying to pull off yet another miracle comeback from 3-1 down like they did last year. Boston trailed the Cleveland Indians 3-1 in the ALCS last year, but eventually rallied to win both the series and the World Series.
Things were different this year. After Pedroia homered, Garza gave up just four runs against 21 hitters.
In the fourth with the Rays trailing 1-0, Akinori Iwamuras single and Evan Longorias double tied the game.
Rocco Baldellis single in the fifth gave the Rays the lead at 2-1, and Willy Aybers homer in the seventh closed out the scoring.
The Rays will face the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series starting Thursday.