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Worst in baseball? Maybe not

Heading into last scheduled game of the season, the Rays have a shot at climbing out of MLB cellar after a 9-6 comeback win over the Red Sox.

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published September 29, 2002

BOSTON -- Suddenly, the Rays have something significant of their own to play for.

With their 9-6 come-from-behind victory over Boston and losses by Detroit and Milwaukee, the Rays enter what could be the the final day of the season with a chance to shed the tag as the worst team in the majors.

The Rays and Tigers are 55-105; the Brewers are 56-105. If the Rays win and either loses, the Rays would, for the first time since June 1, not have the worst record.

"It's not exactly the thing you want to be fighting for, not the kind of thing you look at down the stretch run, not something that's going to make you feel great," centerfielder Randy Winn said. "It's a little bit of a consolation. And I stress a little bit."

On the other hand, the Rays could win for losing. The team with the worst record in the AL gets the top pick in the June draft. If the Rays and Tigers finish tied, the Rays get the top pick, for the second time in five years, because they had a worse record last season.

When the Rays trailed 4-1 after six innings Saturday, it appeared to nearly all they were headed to their 16th loss of the season to Boston.

But they kept swinging and scored seven, five after two were out, in the seventh, matching their third-biggest inning of the season.

"I'm proud of the guys for not quitting," manager Hal McRae said. "You could easily quit when you've lost as many games as we've lost."

Winn, who later would set the team record for hits in a season with his 180th, had a two-run homer to highlight the rally. Brent Abernathy had two run-scoring singles in the seventh, and Carl Crawford, Jared Sandberg and Toby Hall (who homered earlier) also drove in runs.

Victor Zambrano matched Joe Kennedy for the team lead in victories by evening his record at 8 despite a mediocre performance, allowing four runs (three earned) in six innings.

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  • Rays rally behind McRae
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  • Worst in baseball? Maybe not

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  • Summing up the 2002 season

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