Rays perform choke for the ages

With two outs in the seventh inning, the Tampa Bay Rays led the Boston Red Sox, 7-0. Up 3-1 in their American League Championship Series, the Rays looked like they were going to coast into the franchise's first World Series. Then, they collapsed, losing 8-7 in the ninth inning and sending the series back to Tampa for Game 6.

The rally was the second-largest comeback ever in a baseball playoff game and the largest in 79 years. "It was pretty much the most amazing thing I've ever been a part of," Boston's Coco Crisp said, "to be down 7-0 in an elimination game and be able to come back."

My enduring memory of this game is Tampa manager Joe Maddon looking like he had been rendered mute and turned to stone in the eighth inning as reliever Dan Wheeler fell apart, giving up three runs. I had no clue why the seemingly comatose Maddon never pulled Wheeler when it was obvious he was getting shelled. Maddon is called unconventional, but this was just idiocy.

Tampa needs to only win one of the remaining two games, but a loss like this could be impossible to come back from. The Red Sox have a history of amazing rallies -- they were down 3-0 to the Yankees in 2004 and 3-1 to the Indians last year and won both series. I bet Fox execs are doing a dance; a Phillies-Red Sox World Series would get much better ratings than Phillies-Rays.

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