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, to lift the Cleveland Guardians to a 7-6 victory over Tampa Bay 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. Tampa Bay, which has a commanding lead atop the AL wild-card standings, lost for just the third time in its last 11 games, and the Rays now trail Baltimore by two games in the East. Cleveland has won four in a row and moved within 4 1/2 games of first-place Minnesota in the AL Central.
Kwan forced extra innings with a two-out single in the ninth off closer Pete Fairbanks, scoring Myles Straw, which represented Fairbanks’ second blown save in 20 opportunities this season. Tampa Bay had erased a previous 4-1 deficit in the fifth on a Christian Bethancourt’s three-run homer over Cleveland starter Logan Allen. The Rays went in front 5-4 in the sixth on Jose Siri’s 422-foot solo shot against Nick Sandlin.
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 RBI’s. Rays right-hander Zack Littell allowed four runs on a season-high nine hits in 4 2/3 innings, while left-hander Allen gave up four runs in five innings while striking out five. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash was ejected in the fifth by home plate umpire CB Bucknor for arguing a pitch-clock violation against Littell.
Next up is Game #3 of the 3 game home series, as Cleveland looks for a sweep before Minnesota comes to town for three starting on Monday. Guardians RHP Xzavion Curry (3-3, 4.10 ERA), who has zero wins in eight starts this season, pitches the finale. The Rays have not yet named a starter.