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Originally published September 28, 2011 at 10:12 PM | Page modified September 29, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Red Sox complete collapse; Cardinals in playoffs

A frenzied finish all over the majors on Wednesday night, more than any fan could've asked for. And it's not even October yet.

quotes Glad to see those obnoxious Sox fans in Baltimore turned silent as their closer blew... Read more
quotes Choketastic hahahah. We suck, but still funny.. Read more
quotes Sox to be Boston; and now, of course, they have to live there. Too bad, so sad. Read more

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A startling rally by the Tampa Bay Rays, a season saved by a guy hitting only .108. A total collapse by the Boston Red Sox, on one more ball that just got away.

Another big win by Chris Carpenter and the St. Louis Cardinals. Another near-miss for Chipper Jones and the Atlanta Braves.

A frenzied finish all over the majors on Wednesday night, more than any fan could've asked for. And it's not even October yet.

"One of the greatest days in baseball history," the Yankees' Mark Teixeira said.

And imagine this: Teixeira's team lost.

The final day of the regular season had already shaped up as a wild one, with the playoff picture still a blur. Boston and Tampa Bay tied for the AL wild-card spot, Atlanta and St. Louis even for the NL wild-card slot, not a single postseason pairing set.

Turned out, it took at least three TVs to watch what followed.

But when Evan Longoria hit his second home run of the game, connecting after midnight at Tropicana Field in the 12th inning to lift the Rays over the Yankees 8-7, everything was all set.

It's Tampa Bay at Texas on Friday in Game 1, Detroit visiting the Yankees that night in the opener of their AL playoff series.

"I can barely breathe, to be honest with you. It doesn't seem real," Longoria said.

St. Louis begins it best-of-five matchup at Philadelphia on Saturday, with Arizona at Milwaukee opening the same day.

The Red Sox will have all winter to lament how they lost.

Boston held a nine-game lead over Tampa Bay on Sept. 4, but finished 7-20. The Red Sox became the first team to miss the postseason after holding that large of a lead entering September.

Closer Jonathan Papelbon took a 3-2 lead into the ninth in Baltimore and struck out the first two batters and was later one strike away for ending it. But Chris Davis and Nolan Reimold followed doubles that tied it, and Robert Andino, hitting .108, stroked a single that sliding left fielder Carl Crawford couldn't quite glove to win it for the Orioles, 4-3.

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