Though they picked up two high-priced free agents and many people picked them to represent the American League in the World Series, the Boston Red Sox season ended on Wednesday night, completing one of the biggest collapses in baseball history. The Red Sox 4-3 loss, combined with a stunning 8-7 win by the Tampa Bay Rays, kept Boston out of the postseason for the second year in a row.
The loss capped an abysmal September for the Red Sox. They entered play on September 3 with a nine game lead over the Rays in the Wild Card race, but lost 20 of 27 games in September to let the Rays back in.
Perhaps most shocking about Wednesday night was how quickly the tide changed for both teams. The Rays trailed the New York Yankees by seven runs heading into the eighth but scored six that inning and tied it in the ninth, before winning on a walk-off home run by Evan Longoria. The Red Sox entered the bottom of the ninth with a one run lead over the Baltimore Orioles, but star closer Jonathon Papelbon gave up two runs to seal Boston's fate.
"We'll go down in history as one of the worst collapses in history, so it definitely doesn't feel good to be part of that," Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford told the Associated Press. "We had high expectations, and to fall short the way we did is definitely disappointing for us."
The Red Sox weren't the only team to complete a shocking collapse on Wednesday. The Atlanta Braves, who had led the St. Louis Cardinals by as much as 8.5 games in September, also came up short, losing to the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3, while the Cardinals beat the Houston Astros 8-0.