MLB Rankings: Baseball’s Greatest Hits of Week-25

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 15: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after hitting a grand slam against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on September 15, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 15: Ryan Braun #8 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates after hitting a grand slam against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on September 15, 2019 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

MLB Rankings: Greatest Hits in Week-25

4. Nate Lowe, Tampa Bay Rays, 54 percent

Moreland’s 11th inning home run (see above)  had given Boston a 4-3 lead over Tampa Bay entering the bottom of the 11th inning of their game Saturday in St. Petersburg.

With the Rays clinging to a small advantage over Cleveland for the second American League wild-card spot, the Rays needed every victory they could get, including over the defending World Series champions.

Having already burned through nine members of his bullpen – including his three top closers – Red sox manager Alex Cora turned to lightly used Josh Smith to get the final three outs. Signed as a free agent in May following his release by the Seattle Mariners, Smith had pitched only sparingly and had been touched up for a 5.90 ERA in 29 innings.

The Rays wasted no time exposing Smith’s liabilities. Leadoff batter Travis d’Arnaud worked a 3-1 count, then drove a double into the left-center field gap. That put the tying run in scoring position for Lowe, and improved Tampa’s chances at victory from just 21 percent to 46 percent…nearly a 50-50 shot.

Lowe, a reserve infielder who Is not even the best Lowe on the Rays – that would be second baseman Brandon – came up having been held hitless in his four previous at-bats as that day’s DH. But when Smith fell behind 2-0, the left-handed Lowe looked fastball down the middle, got one, and drove it inside the left-field foul pole for a game-winning home run.