Longoria's three bombs send O's to play-in game

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Longoria's three bombs send O's to play-in game

From Comcast SportsNet

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Evan Longoria's flair for the dramatic on the final night of the season ended Baltimore's bid to force a one-game tiebreaker for the AL East title.

Instead, the Orioles were left to begin their first playoff appearance in 15 years on the road against two-time defending league champion Texas.

Longoria homered three times and the Tampa Bay Rays shut down the Orioles 4-1 Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, where Longoria also ended last season with a bang.

Baltimore began the day one game behind the New York Yankees in the division. The Orioles needed a win, plus a loss by the Yankees to Boston, to pull even.

New York cruised to a 14-2 rout of the Red Sox and finished two games ahead of the Orioles, earning its 13th division crown in 17 years. The Yankees had a 10-game lead on July 18 but Baltimore caught up Sept. 4 and the teams were tied 10 times in September.

"We knew it was a long shot, but we ran into some really good pitching," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "I've got to tip my hat to them, and what is really kind of amazing is that you look over there with what they've been able to do this year, win 90 games, and that tells you what a fine line there is in all those extra-inning games and one-run losses, and we could be in the same position they are."

The loss sent the Orioles to Texas, where they'll play the Rangers on Friday night, with the winner advancing to the best-of-five division series against the New York Yankees.

"We're going to take it one game at a time. Obviously if you lose, you're done," said Orioles slugger Chris Davis, who had homered in six straight games. "We're going to try to do everything we can to beat Texas and get back home."

Longoria finished the season in dramatic fashion for the second straight year, hitting solo shots off Chris Tillman in the first and fourth innings and adding another solo drive off Jake Arrieta in the sixth.

With a chance to tie the major league record of four homers in a game, the three-time All-Star who missed 85 games this year with a strained left hamstring grounded out in the eighth.

"It was cool," Longoria said. "That's about as fun a night as you can have in a ballgame."

Longoria's second career three-homer game came a year after he hit two of them of the final night of last season, including a 12th-inning, game-ending shot that clinched a postseason berth. The area beyond a short wall in the left-field corner where the biggest homer in franchise history landed is now called 162 Landing.

"I just think it highlights how well we play in games 162," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It was a very dramatic game, the way it all unfolded. I just like the idea that we played the last game of the season with that kind of effort and intensity."

Ryan Roberts also homered for the Rays in the fourth against Tillman (9-3).

Jeremy Hellickson (10-11) allowed one hit -- Adam Jones' fourth-inning single -- in 5 1-3 innings. Jake McGee, Wade Davis, Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney teamed up to hold the Orioles to two hits -- J.J. Hardy's double and Matt Wieters' single, both in the ninth inning -- the rest of the way.

Jones ruined Tampa Bay's shot at a 16th shutout with a sacrifice fly off Peralta. After Wieters singled, Rodney was summoned to get the final out for his 48th save in 50 opportunities.

Davis, who tied an Orioles record when he homered for the sixth straight game in a 1-0 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday night, went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

Baltimore had five hits in the final two games of the regular season, but Jones is confident the offense will bounce back for the club's first postseason game since 1997.

"We ain't got no choice. You don't hit, you go home," Jones said. "It's no ifs, buts or maybes. Both teams know that."

Longoria has homered in five of his last seven plate appearances in the final game of the season. In four career Game 162s, he is 8 for 15 with six homers and nine RBIs.

"Sometimes you've got to give credit where credit is due. He put some good swings on some pitches, but I should have been better," Tillman said. "I knew what I needed to do. I just didn't get it done."

Longoria is 6 for 12 with three homers against Tillman, who lasted five innings and allowed three runs on four hits in his first loss since Kansas City beat him on Aug. 11. The right-hander who had gone 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA over his previous five starts also allowed three homers in that game, matching his career high.

The Rays (90-72) won 12 of 14 down the stretch, remaining in contention for the second AL wild card until the 160th game and finished with at least 90 wins for the third straight season.

Hellickson allowed three baserunners, two of them in the fourth inning when Jones singled to right-center after Davis struck out on a wild pitch that allowed him to reach first. The 2011 AL Rookie of the Year walked Manny Machado leading off the sixth and was replaced by McGee after getting the next batter, Nate McLouth, to pop out.

"The big tip of the cap goes to Joe Maddon and the Rays. They played 162," Jones said. "Their players went out every game to the last one and gave it all they've got."

Instant Replay: Kings hold off Pistons, end five-game skid

Instant Replay: Kings hold off Pistons, end five-game skid

BOX SCORE

The Kings needed a win in a big way Monday night in Detroit and that is exactly what they got. After losing five straight, Sacramento outlasted the Pistons at the Palace at Auburn Hills to come away with a huge 109-104 road victory.

Ty Lawson put on the jets and ran circles around the Pistons backcourt. The veteran reserve poured in 19 points and handed out six assists in 22 minutes of action off coach Dave Joerger’s bench.

It took a while to get DeMarcus Cousins going, but the 6-foot-11 big man found his game in the second quarter. Cousins stuffed the stat sheet on his way to a 22-point, 14-rebound, six-assist night. He shot just 8-of-21 from the floor and turned the ball over six times, but he was a big part of the win.

With Cousins struggling early, Joerger received big contributions from just about everyone who entered the game, including the bench, which outscored the Pistons reserves 52-30 on the night.

Willie Cauley-Stein has found playing scarce this season, but he took advantage of his opportunity in Detroit. The second-year big scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds with the second unit. He brought an energy and excitement that the Kings desperately needed.

Darren Collison dropped in 12 points on 4-for-5 shooting. Matt Barnes went for 10 points and added eight rebounds and Garrett Temple chipped in 11 points and dished out four assists.

Reggie Jackson attacked the Kings defense, scoring 18 points and handing out 11 assists, but like the rest of the Pistons guards, he had no answer for Lawson.

The Kings left Jon Leuer open and the veteran forward torched them early. Leuer dropped in all 15 of his points in the first quarter, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range, but foul trouble derailed him in the second half.

Tobias Harris tossed in 15 points off Stan Van Gundy’s bench. Marcus Morris hit for 13 points and All-Star center Andre Drummond finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

STANDOUT PERFORMER
Lawson was the best player on the floor for most of the night. The dynamic point guard used his speed and quickness to get into the paint and created for both himself and his teammates.

TURNING POINT
The bench took control in the fourth quarter, pushing the lead to 11 points at the 7:13 mark with a Lawson 3-ball. Detroit cut into the Kings lead down the stretch, but the visiting team found a way to sneak out the win.

INJURY UPDATE
Gay was scheduled to undergo surgery on his left Achilles tendon in New York on Monday. He is officially out for the season. Omri Casspi continues to be sidelined by a strained calf muscle. The original diagnosis last Monday had him sitting an estimated 1-2 weeks.  

WHAT'S NEXT
The Kings continue their season-long eight-game road trip Wednesday against the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers. Following the Cavs game, Sacramento travels to Indiana, followed by Charlotte for a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday against the Pacers and Hornets.

Instant Replay: Warriors go cold in Miami, winning streak ends at seven

Instant Replay: Warriors go cold in Miami, winning streak ends at seven

BOX SCORE

The third quarter, which so often this season has been a magical 12 minutes for the Warriors, was of no benefit to them Monday night in Miami.

Not with Heat guard Dion Waiters on an absolute tear.

The Warriors saw their win streak end at seven games with a pulsating 105-102 loss to the relentless Waiters and the Heat at American Airlines Arena.

Four Warriors scored in double figures, with Kevin Durant leading the way with 27 points. Klay Thompson finished with 22 points, Stephen Curry had 21 and JaVale McGee came off the bench to add 10.

The Warriors (38-7) were victims of dreadful shooting from 3-point range, where they were 8-of-30 (26.7 percent), as well as a tremendous game by Waiters, who scored 33 points and hit a number of big shots -- including the game winning 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds remaining.

The Heat (15-30) won their fourth consecutive game.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Though no member of the Warriors performed with particular distinction, Curry submitted a fairly strong game, all things considered.

Curry’s line: 21 points (7-of-19 shooting, including 3-of-9 from deep, 4-of-5 from the line), a team-high 10 rebounds and a team-high eight assists. He played 37 minutes and finished plus-1

TURNING POINT

After a Durant dunk tied the score at 102-102 with 11.7 seconds remaining, the Heat, out of timeouts, brought ball up with Waiters. Defended tightly by Thompson, Waiters dribbled down to less than two seconds before launching the game-winner from the top of the key.

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: F Andre Iguodala (rest) and C David West (L thumb fracture) were listed as out.

Heat: G Tyler Johnson (L shoulder sprain) was listed as questionable and ruled out prior to tipoff. F Josh McRoberts (L foot stress fracture), G Josh Richardson (L foot sprain) and F Justise Winslow (R shoulder surgery) were listed as out.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors return to action Wednesday, when they face Hornets at Spectrum Center in Charlotte. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.