10/06/08 8:27 PM EST
Rays Short Hops: Game 4
Tampa Bay wins first playoff series behind Upton's two homers
By David Just / MLB.com
In < 25 words ...
The Rays won their first postseason series and will face the winner of the Red Sox-Angels series in the ALCS.
At 7:19 p.m. CT, Grant Balfour struck out Ken Griffey Jr. for the final out of the series. The Rays' bench cleared and the players celebrated their first successful postseason series in franchise history on the infield of U.S. Cellular Field.
801 -- B.J. Upton smacked solo home runs in his first two at-bats that traveled a combined 801 feet. The first one went 384 feet to left field, and the second came on a full count and traveled 417 feet to center.
No doubt about this one. Upton hit two home runs to bring his total in the series to three. He was also intentionally walked in the seventh.
Sonnanstine gave up just three hits to the White Sox offense, two of which were relatively harmless solo home runs. He kept the Rays in the game over his 5 2/3 innings and handed the ball off to J.P. Howell with the lead.
After smacking two home runs in Game 1, Longoria went bust the rest of the series. He went 1-for-12 and struck out six times.
Sense of October
With runners on first and second in the seventh, Matt Thornton's 0-2 pitch to Carlos Pena was right down the middle, but home-plate umpire Jeff Kellogg called it a ball. Pena smacked an RBI single later in the at-bat, pumping his fist after reaching first. With a four-run cushion, the game was all but over.
Lines of the Game
4 AB, 3 H, 2 RBI, BB
Comment: Other than Upton, Pena led the offensive charge, driving in runs in the fifth and seventh innings.
1 1/3 IP, 0 R, H, K
Comment: Howell picked up where Sonnanstine left off, denying the White Sox any opportunities to score.
"There's never been any doubt in our clubhouse. I know a lot of people have doubted us. We hear it, but it's just fuel for the fire. We feed off that and we have all year, and it's showing right now." -- Upton, on what the series has done for the Rays' confidence level
The Rays advance to the ALCS and face the winner of the Red Sox-Angels ALDS matchup. The Red Sox lead the Angels in the series, 2-1.
David Just is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.