The Tampa Bay Rays shutout the Cleveland Indians Wednesday night in the American League wildcard game to advance to the ALDS where they will face the Boston Red Sox.
Alex Cobb, Joel Peralta, Jake McGee, and Fernando Rodney teamed up to blank the Tribe and, just like that, the hottest team in the league has been eliminated. The Indians, who finished the regular season on a 10-game winning streak and would have qualified for the LDS under the rules that were used up until 2011, can now only dream of what might have been. Under the new rules it’s one game, one loss and you’re out.
The Rays, fresh off a complete game win by David Price in their tie-breaker game with the Rangers, suddenly look like a force to be reckoned with in the A.L. playoffs.
Cleveland starter Danny Salazar was solid early. The rookie touched 100 m.p.h. on the radar gun a couple of times as he retired the first six hitters he faced, three of them by strikeout. But Delmon Young came to the plate looking for a fastball to start the third inning — and he got it. Young belted a homer into the leftfield seats, and that would be all the Rays needed. Desmond Jennings added a 2-run double in the fourth and the Rays never looked back.
The Rays now travel to Fenway Park where they will face Jon Lester and the RedSox on Friday. Coverage of Game 1 of the best-of-five series begins at 3:00 Eastern on TBS.