CLEVELAND (AP) — Steven Kwan hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Bo Naylor with the winning run after Jose Tena tied the score with a single in the 11th inning, lifting the Cleveland Guardians to a 7-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.
Rays center fielder Jose Siri had an opportunity to cut down Naylor at the plate, but his throw sailed wide and Chris Devenski (3-3) took the loss in his first appearance with the team.
“It was a frustrating loss, but they did the little things a little bit better than we did,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “Kwan is not the guy in that lineup that you want coming up with a guy on third base.”
Kwan forced extra innings with a two-out single in the ninth inning off closer Pete Fairbanks, scoring Myles Straw. It was Fairbanks’ second blown save in 20 opportunities for the Rays, who have a commanding lead atop the AL wild-card standings.
The Guardians have won four in a row and are five games behind first-place Minnesota in the AL Central.
“That was definitely a strange one, but we just scrapped it out,” Kwan said. “We’ve had some extra-inning shenanigans against Tampa for sure. When we get everybody going, we can get really dangerous.”
Tampa Bay went ahead 6-5 in the top of the 11th on Brandon Lowe's sacrifice fly off Sam Hentges (3-2). The Rays lost for just the third time in their last 11 games and trail Baltimore by two games in the East.
In the 10th, Tampa Bay’s Luke Raley was thrown out on a tremendous play by second baseman Andrés Giménez, who grabbed Osleivis Basabe’s hard grounder with the infield in and fired to catcher Naylor.
“Gimmy is going as fast as he can and he put it in the only place where we could get the tag,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “We have an uphill battle, but we’ll keep playing until they make us go home.”
Tampa Bay erased a 4-1 deficit in the fifth on Christian Bethancourt’s three-run homer off Cleveland starter Logan Allen. The Rays went in front 5-4 in the sixth on Jose Siri’s 422-foot solo shot.
Gabriel Arias hit a two-run homer off Tampa Bay starter Zack Littell.
Relievers Reynaldo López and Matt Moore both made their Cleveland debuts, combining for 2 1/3 scoreless innings, two days after being claimed off waivers from the Angels with starter Lucas Giolito.
The Guardians are expected to activate first baseman Josh Naylor on Sunday. Naylor, who has been sidelined since August 1 with a strained right oblique, leads the team with a .306 average and 79 RBIs.
Cash was ejected in the fifth by home plate umpire CB Bucknor for arguing a pitch-clock violation against Littell.
COMING AND GOING
Rays RHP Aaron Civale returned to Progressive Field for the first time since being traded on July 31. He spent his first 4 1/2 seasons with Cleveland, going 29-23 in 76 starts.
“It’s definitely strange to be on the visiting side, but it’s good to be back,” Civale said. “I’ll always have fond memories of playing here.” …
Guardians RHP James Karinchak, who had a 1.42 ERA in six August relief outings, was optioned to Triple-A Columbus to clear a roster spot for Giolito.
“We told James, ‘You kind of drew the short end of the straw,’ because we added three players,” Francona said.
Rays: RHP Jason Adam (oblique strain), who has not appeared out of the bullpen since Aug. 27, will be placed on the injured list.
Guardians: RHP Shane Bieber (right elbow inflammation) threw a bullpen session with pitching coach Carl Willis before the game.
Guardians RHP Xzavion Curry (3-3, 4.10 ERA), who has zero wins in eight starts this season, pitches the three-game series finale. The Rays have not named a starter.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB