Rays wreak revenge on Rangers
After losing the first two games of the upper-bracket American League Divisional Series, wasting their home field advantage, the Tampa Bay Rays were in deep doo-doo this afternoon. They fell behind 1-0, but then tied it in the middle innings. Heroics were provided in the eighth inning by Carlos Peña, who batted in the go-ahead run and later scored himself. In the ninth inning, Carl Crawford and Peña each hit home runs to give the Rays a commanding 6-2 lead. In the bottom of the inning Nelson Cruz hit a solo shot for the Rangers, but it didn't change the outcome, and the game ended with a score of 6-3. The long-suffering crowd of 51,000+ Texas fans at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was disappointed that their team didn't sweep the series and advance to the ALCS for the very first time, but they'll have another chance tomorrow.
And so, the visiting team has won each of the first three games of the ALDS. As shown on the Postseason scores page, that has happened twice before over the past decade, and both times the home team won Game 4, thereby advancing to the next round. In the 2006 NLDS, the St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Diego Padres, and in the 2008 ALDS, the Boston Red Sox did likewise to the L.A. Angels. The Rangers will try to replicate those experiences tomorrow at noon.
In The Bronx, meanwhile, the lower-bracket ALDS may be nearing a premature conclusion. The Twins face elimination at the hands of the New York Yankees, exactly the same situation the Rays were in earlier today. The Twins faced the Yankees in the 2003, 2004, and 2009 ALDS, winning only twice and losing nine times. The score in the bottom of the fourth inning: Yanks 5, Twins 0. The "fat lady" is starting to warm up...
[UPDATE: The Twins got on the scoreboard in the eighth inning, and had the bases loaded with only one out, courtesy of a Yankee relief pitcher named Kerry Wood (!), who quickly got yanked. The Twins failed to get any more runs after that. Final score: 6-1, meaning the Yankees are the first team to advance to a league championship series this year.]
Ankiel saves the Braves
In San Francisco late last night, a clutch [eleventh]-inning home run by Rick Ankiel gave a one-run lead to the Atlanta Braves, who held on to beat the Giants, 3-2. It was only the second home run ball to land in McCovey Cove during a postseason game. (Guess who hit the first one?) Ankiel is an unlikely slugging hero, as he started his major league career as a pitcher, and then switched positions in 2007. There are more fascinating details about Ankiel's career at MLB.com.
Baseball chronology page
I have added another background information page: Annual chronology of baseball. It includes some stadium data going back to the beginning of the 20th Century, as well as franchise sales, the All-Star Game, World Series results, etc. Please note that it is a work in progress, with many gaps in data. I may tweak the formatting later on, as well.