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Tampa Bay kept adding on and Pena hit his second RBI single in the seventh -- after the White Sox intentionally walked Upton. Guillen, apparently upset when a close pitch from Matt Thornton to Pena was called a ball, had a conversation with plate umpire Jeff Kellogg as he headed back to the dugout after a trip to the mound.
The White Sox defeated Cleveland on the final Sunday of the season to get to a makeup game with Detroit the following day. They beat the Tigers and then Minnesota, 1-0.
After losing the first two games of this series at Tropicana Field despite leading in both, the White Sox came back home to win Sunday. And they were hoping for another three-game winning streak -- but the Rays were too good.
"When you have to play playoff baseball the last two weeks of the regular season, it's just so hard to get over that first hump," Konerko said. "We just ran out of gas."
And now Maddon, who likes fashionable eye wear, fine wines, good books and inspirational slogans, has pushed a decade-long loser onto the doorstep of a pennant.
"We all came together and said we're going to play team ball," Upton said. "That's what we do, day in and day out."
Earlier in the week, Maddon spotted some fans on his way to U.S. Cellular Field wearing "retro Devil Rays stuff." He'll be looking for even more signs of the team's new popularity when he honeymoons in Europe next month.
"My goal is to see someone walking around either Rome or, you know, Barcelona or somewhere with Rays gear on," he added, promising to photograph it.
Maddon pointed to the Rays' ability to bounce back after losing their final seven games before the All-Star break as a big test. And he hasn't spent a lot of time reflecting on how he has taken a team that had 10 straight losing season -- with at least 91 losses in each of those years -- to the playoffs.
But he was enjoying the way his team reached and then recognized its achievement.
"Our guys are really good celebrators by the way. Very proud of them in that regard," Maddon said.
"You got to go for it. The one thing I told our players post All-Star break is to treat this situation with respect. And they have. We have. In other words, you are not going to be in this situation on an annual basis."
Notes: Rays RF Gabe Gross made a nice leaping catch at the fence in the first to rob A.J. Pierzynski of an extra-base hit, maybe even a homer. ... Griffey struck out three times.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed
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