Rays, Cubs clinch divisions
Two franchises, one with an infamous postseason history and another with no history at all, clinched division championships Saturday.
The Chicago Cubs embarked on their long journey to October with a surprising proclamation from pitcher Ryan Dempster on the opening day of spring training.
“I think we’re going to win the World Series,” Dempster said matter-of-factly on the sidewalk in front of the club’s training complex.
It was an audacious statement, considering the Cubs had been swept in the first round of the 2007 playoffs and hadn’t won a World Series since 1908. Dempster earned the nickname “Madame Cleo” from his teammates for his bold prediction after putting the onus on the team to shut up and get the job done.
Seven months later, the Cubs have completed the first step of attaining their championship dreams, clinching the National League Central Division title with a 5-4 victory Saturday over the St. Louis Cardinals before a packed house on a picture-perfect afternoon at Wrigley Field.
The Tampa Bay Rays kept things simple, clinching the first playoff berth in franchise history on their own. Tampa Bay could have clinched without winning if the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees each lost once during the weekend but decided to have none of that.
Carlos Pena hit a two-run double and Scott Kazmir pitched six scoreless innings, helping the A.L. East leaders wrap up at least a wild-card spot with a 7-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.
The crowd of 36,048 that packed Tropicana Field stood for entire ninth inning, chanting “Let’s Go, Rays” and clanging cowbells.
Top 25 results
(3) Georgia 27, Arizona St. 10
(4) Florida 30, Tennessee 6
(5) Missouri 42, Buffalo 21
(6) LSU 26, (10) Auburn 21
(7) Texas 52, Rice 10
(9) Alabama 49, Arkansas 14
(11) Texas Tech 56, UMass 14
(12) So. Florida 17, FIU 9
(13) Ohio St. 28, Troy 10
(14) BYU 44, Wyoming 0
N.C. St. 30, (15) E.Car. 24 (OT)
(16) Penn St. 45, Temple 3
Boise St. 37, (17) Oregon 32
(18) Wake For. 12, (24) FSU 3
(19) Kansas 38, Sam Hous. 14
(20) Utah 30, Air Force 23
(23) Clemson 54, S. Car. St. 0
(25) Fresno St. 55, Toledo 54 (2OT)
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