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Big League Stew

The Juice: Rays retake AL Wild Card lead with 12 inning victory over Rangers

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

Less than two weeks to go in season No. 6 of the Juice! Stop by daily for news from the action, along with great photos, stats, video highlights and more.

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After falling into a tie atop the wild card standings with the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Rays forged back ahead thanks to a dramatic 5-4 victory over Texas in 12 innings.

Desmond Jennings brought the Rays streaming out of their dugout when he knocked home Sam Fuld with the game-winning run in the deciding 12th frame, but it was the 11th inning that provided the game's biggest twists and turns. In the top half, Texas would grab a 4-3 lead when Elvis Andrus scored all the way from first base on Adrian Beltre's single. Andrus, who's always looking to take an extra 90 feet when the opportunity arises, took advantage of some lackadaisical play by Rays right fielder Wil Myers to race around with the go-ahead tally.

In the bottom half, Tampa started a two out rally from scratch. After Matt Joyce singled and pinch-runner Freddy Guzman swiped second base, August acquisition David DeJesus singled back through the middle to score the tying run. There were a lot of smiles in the Rays dugout at that point, and then again in the 12th, but none were bigger than that of Myers or manager Joe Maddon.

From the Associated Press:

''You talk about the total team victory right there, how about it?'' Maddon said. ''All kinds of crazy little nuances in the game. That's why the game is so beautiful. It's even more beautiful when you win a game like that.''

And more crushing when you lose it.

Regardless of the outcome, this was going to be a difficult loss for someone to deal with. It probably stings the Rangers a little more than it would have the Rays for a couple reasons. First, they were one out away from wrapping the game up. Second, after snapping a seven-game losing streak on Tuesday, they lost a golden opportunity to stay on the winning track and gain control of their own destiny.

Postseason bound: Entering play on Wednesday the Boston Red Sox were one victory and one Cleveland Indians loss away from clinching a return to the postseason. They would get the latter, but ended up falling 5-3 to the Baltimore Orioles in 12 innings on Chris Davis’ two-run single. Their magic number in the AL East remains at three thanks to Tampa’s victory over Texas.

As for Baltimore, they’re only one game behind Texas for the second wild card. Only Cleveland separates them at 1/2 game out.

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3: A four-run eighth inning keeps New York's wild card hopes alive. They're 2 1/2 games back with 10 to play.

Royals 7, Indians 2: Kansas City also stays at 2 1/2 back with a big win over Cleveland. The highlight coming when Alcides Escobar stole home in spectacular fashion.

Angels 5, A’s 4 (11 inn.): Resurgent in September, Josh Hamilton stayed hot connecting for a two-out, game-tying two-run homer off Grant Balfour in the ninth inning. Two innings later, Hamilton came through with the game-winning RBI on a sacrifice fly scoring J.B. Shuck.

Twins 4, White Sox 3: Left-hander Scott Diamond gets the win despite not striking out a batter in 6 1/3 innings.

Padres 3, Pirates 2: San Diego scored two runs with two outs in the ninth to pull off the stunning victory. Logan Forsythe and René Rivera each delivered RBI singles off Mark Melancon.

Cardinals 4, Rockies 3: St. Louis takes advantage of another Pittsburgh misstep to open up a two-game division lead. Adam Wainwright picked up his 17th victory.

Reds 6, Astros 5 (13 inn.): Making his first career start, Reds rookie Billy Hamilton filled the stat sheet with three hits, two walks, four stolen bases, two runs scored, one double and one RBI.

Marlins 4, Phillies 3 (10 inn.): Giancarlo Stanton tied the game with a 463-foot blast to Planet Hoagie. Ed Lucas won it with a much more subdued solo homer.

Braves 5, Nationals 2: Atlanta's magic number in the NL East is down to two after scoring the game's final five runs.

Mets 5, Giants 4: New York rallied for four ninth inning runs off Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo to pull off the unlikely victory. Josh Satin capped it with a two-run walk-off single.

Brewers 7, Cubs 0: Milwaukee jumped ahead early thanks to Scott Halton's first career grand slam. Tyler Thornborg and three relievers made it hold up.

Mariners 8, Tigers 0: Hisashi Iwakuma outpitched Justin Verlander by eight miles.

Diamondbacks 9, Dodgers 4: Keep the champagne on ice. Los Angeles will go for the division crown again on Thursday afternoon.

''No matter how long you've been playing, you're going to have confidence issues. We're seeing it all come together the last month. He's a terrific player who has struggled at times earlier in the season.''

— Mike Scioscia on Josh Hamilton

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(USA Today)

Atlanta Braves left-hander Alex Wood was not on the same page with home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor.

• Denard Span extended his MLB best hitting streak to 29 games.

• Hisashi Iwakuma extended his road scoreless streak to 25 innings, which equals the Mariners franchise record.

• San Diego is 31-10 at PNC Park since it opened in 2001.

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