ST. PETERSBURG It's only early September, but the simmering tension and deafening din inside Tropicana Field late Monday afternoon provided a playoff feel worthy of October.
You could point to any number of pivotal moments in the opener of a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees a Labor Day clash that revived the emotion and excitement of their classic late-season showdown last year.
But no play stood out more than a eighth-inning squib single by backup catcher Chris Gimenez, called up from Triple-A Durham only two days ago. In the game of his career, Gimenez' second RBI hit of the day capped a dramatic sequence of events that helped the Rays beat the Yankees 4-3 decision and suddenly turned the AL East race into a three-team track meet with 27 games to play.
Tampa Bay pulled to within 2.5 games of the first-place Yankees with its third straight victory, while the Baltimore Orioles closed the gap to one behind New York by blanking Toronto 4-0. The Ra...