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Rays reaction: Joe Maddon and Co. react to walk-off win

10.08.13 at 3:00 am ET
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Jose Lobaton and the Rays had plenty to celebrate after their walk-off win Monday night. (AP)

Jose Lobaton and the Rays had plenty to celebrate after their walk-off win Monday night. (AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Following the Rays’ walk-off win over the Red Sox in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon talked about the improbability of Jose Lobaton’s ninth-inning homer against Red Sox’ closer Koji Uehara.

Even though Lobaton had two previous walk-off hits this season, the catcher was a long-shot to get the job done in the final frame. He entered the at-bat 1-for-21 in his last nine games, and Uehara had surrendered just one run over his previous 38 appearances. (The closer hadn’t surrendered a home run since June 30.)

“All these things, if you want to go on probable, look at the probability of it. … If you work out the abilities versus that pitcher’s abilities, what’s been going on. … If you’re going to be some bucks on that, you’re going to lose. It’s not normally going to happen,” Maddon said. “He climbed all over (the 0-1 splitter). It was down, but he got the head of that bat on it and the rest is Rays’ history. It’s really an incredible game to participate in.”

The excitement from Maddon was understood.

It marked the fourth time in the last eight days the Rays had won an elimination game, this one marking the largest deficit (three runs) overcome in franchise history.

“I swear I was looking down on my card and you’re preparing for what’s going to happen,” said Maddon of hte moment. “Their pitchers are so good. And then I hear that thing you hear on the radio back in the day when you’re listening to the Cardinals on KMOX, laying on the floor in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. That knock. And look up and the ball is going towards the tank, which nobody hits home runs there. Nobody does. How about that?

“Jose does have a flare for the dramatic. He’s done that a couple of times now. A walk-off triple, two walk-off homers. It’s incredible what he’s done. What an interesting, wonderful game to stay solvent with.”

And for the Rays, of course, there was the hit that got everything going — Evan Longoria’s three-run homer in the fifth inning that tied the game. It not only marked the third baseman’s second, third and fourth RBI against Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, but snapped a streak of 17 consecutive scoreless innings for the starter.

“He’s always been pushing our boulders around,” Maddon said. “Longo has been the boulder pusher around here. Every time things seem bleak offensively, he’s picked ups up. We needed that badly, there’s no deny it. Among the group everybody is going to look for that guy to lead you and he did and he put us back in the race.”

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