CLEVELAND (AP) — Rookie Bo Naylor doubled home Gabriel Arias with the go-ahead run in the seventh inning, sending the Cleveland Guardians to a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.
The Guardians trailed 2-1 entering the seventh, but Andrés Giménez led off with a single, stole second and came home on Arias’ single. Naylor followed with a drive to the wall in right-center off Rays starter Tyler Glasnow (7-5).
“I was ready to hit something hard and once I got that pitch, I put a swing on it,” Naylor said. “I felt like I had two pretty good at-bats before that and I was seeing the ball well. I’m definitely getting more comfortable in there.”
Tampa Bay had its four-game winning streak snapped and fell two games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East. The Rays remain firmly in control of the top wild-card spot and have won eight of 10.
Eli Morgan (5-2) pitched the seventh and Emmanuel Clase gained his major league-high 37th save with a perfect ninth. Cleveland, which has won three in a row, trails Minnesota by five games in the AL Central.
One day earlier, the Guardians claimed pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo López and Matt Moore off waivers from the Angels in a final push for the postseason. Relievers López and Moore were in uniform for the series opener.
“We seem to play a lot of close games, and hopefully those two can add to what our guys have been doing in the bullpen,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said.
Guardians starter Cal Quantrill worked six innings in his return from the injured list, allowing two runs on two hits while striking out two. The right-hander had missed two months with inflammation in his pitching shoulder.
“He got a little help from the guy behind the dish (Chris Segal) on a few balls, but other than that, he did a good job hitting the corners and working the plate,” Rays right fielder Josh Lowe said.
Glasnow matched his longest start of the season, going seven innings. The right-hander struck out six without issuing a walk, but remained winless in four career starts against Cleveland.
“I think I pitched pretty good, but I fell behind in the seventh and gave up a couple of hits,” Glasnow said.
Randy Arozarena doubled off the wall in left in the first, plating Brandon Lowe, and René Pinto doubled in Jonathan Aranda in the second for Tampa Bay. The Guardians closed to 2-1 in the third on Kole Calhoun’s sacrifice fly.
Tampa Bay’s Yandy Díaz went 0 for 4, dropping his AL-leading batting average to .324.
FAREWELL FOR NOW
Francona has strongly indicated that he will retire at the end of the season, which would make this series the final time that close friend and Rays manager Kevin Cash shares the field with him.
“If this is it, it’s certainly been an honor for me,” Cash said. “Our relationship isn’t going to change, but baseball will miss him.”
Cash was a backup catcher for Francona with the Red Sox, then spent two years as his bullpen coach in Cleveland.
“Tito treated me — the worst player on the roster — the same way he treated the best,” Cash said. “With all the pressure he was under in Boston, that made a strong impression.”
Rays: SS Taylor Walls (left oblique strain) was activated off the 10-day injured list as MLB rosters expanded to 28 players. Walls has 20 stolen bases in 21 attempts this season, while hitting .211 with seven homers and 27 RBIs in 79 games.
Guardians: 1B Josh Naylor (oblique strain), who has been on the IL since August 4, will work out Saturday at Progressive Field and could be activated Sunday. Naylor is 2 for 5 in two games of a rehab assignment with Double-A Akron.
Rays RHP Zack Littell (3-4, 4.45 ERA) takes on Guardians LHP Logan Allen (6-7, 3.61 ERA). Littell has made nine starts and 11 relief appearances since being claimed off waivers from Boston on May 12.
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