Rays go 18 innings to beat Orioles

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In a game that featured a major league record 21 pitchers and took nearly seven hours, the Rays outlasted the Orioles 5-4 in 18 innings Friday.

The Rays’ win came hours after they were officially eliminated from AL East contention by the Red Sox, but they’ve already known for a couple of weeks that it’d probably be the wild card or nothing. They celebrated like they clinched a berth themselves when David DeJesus singled in Desmond Jennings in the bottom of the 18th.

Jennings was scratched from the Rays’ original lineup because of a sore neck, but he ended up playing 10 innings anyway and going 2-for-4 with a walk. His double got the rally started in the 18th.

Getting the victory was Jeremy Hellickson, the Rays’ 11th pitcher. The Orioles likewise turned to a starter, Bud Norris, in the 16th. He took the loss.

The Orioles went the 18 innings without ever using closer Jim Johnson, though they had him warming up often enough.

The win puts the Rays alone at the top of the wild card race. The Indians won a rain-shortened game against the Astros on Friday, and the Royals edged Rangers 2-1 after scoring in the bottom of the eighth. Here are the standings with 8-9 games left:

Tampa Bay – 84-69
Cleveland – 84-70
Texas – 83-70 (.5 games back)
Baltimore – 81-72 (2.5 games back)
Kansas City – 81-72 (2.5 games back)
New York – 81-73 (3 games back)