Rays beat Red Sox 3-1 in Game 7 of ALCS, advance to World Series for first time

The Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Down to their last chance, the Tampa Bay Rays left no doubt they were World Series-worthy, after all. The young Rays completed a stunning run to their first pennant, holding off the defending champion Boston Red Sox 3-1 Sunday night behind Matt Garza's masterful pitching in Game 7 of the AL championship series.

The Rays nearly let it slip away when they blew a seven-run lead late in Game 5 and lost meekly Saturday night. But when rookie David Price struck out J.D. Drew with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning, Tampa Bay showed it had plenty of resolve, too.

“It's unbelievable,” center fielder B.J. Upton said. “We battled a lot of adversity this year. We stuck together as a team.”

Baseball's doormat since starting play in 1998, the Rays were a 200-1 shot to win the World Series before the season started. Now, they'll host the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 1 Wednesday night.

Garza beat Boston twice in a week and was picked as the MVP.