The Baltimore Orioles had a chance to win the AL East and head to Texas for their first game of the playoffs. They're … kind of doing that, in a way. If you squint. The Orioles will head to Arlington to face the Texas Rangers, but it will be in the Wild Card play-in game, as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Orioles on the last day of the season, 4-1, behind three solo home runs from Evan Longoria.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman allowed just four runners, and he was in the stretch just once through five innings. That's the good news. The bad news is that he allowed three solo home runs, with Longoria victimizing him for two. Ryan Roberts added another home run in the fourth inning, and Longoria finished the scoring with another homer against Jake Arrieta in the sixth.
Jeremy Hellickson was brilliant, holding the Orioles to a hit and a walk over 5⅓, striking out six. The lone run of the game for the O's came on a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning off the bat of Adam Jones.
The Orioles will win the second Wild Card, and they'll play against the Rangers on Friday. The New York Yankees will win the American League East, which is of special importance to me, because that means I won't have to spend my offseason writing Wire: The Musical!.
The game had some sentimental meaning for the Rays, too, as B.J. Upton played what is almost certainly his last game as a Ray. After singling in the eighth inning, Upton was removed for a pinch-runner, and he left to a standing ovation. Upton was the second-overall pick in 2002, and he played 966 games for the Rays over parts of eight seasons.
Also of note, Dan Johnson hit three home runs on Wednesday for the White Sox. That means that Johnson and Longoria have hit nine home runs between them over the last two final games of the season. That means something.