CLEVELAND (AP) — Harold Ramírez’s two-run double with two outs in the 11th inning gave Tampa Bay a 6-5 win over Cleveland on Tuesday night, helping the Rays close the race for the Atlantic wild cards. AL and ending the Guardians’ seven games. winning streak.
The Rays closed within a game and a half of Toronto for the wildcard lead.
Ramírez, who played 99 games for Cleveland last season before being released, fired a 1-2 pitch from Trevor Stephan (6-5) down the left field line for his second brace of the game to score Taylor Walls and Wander Franco.
The clutch shot — Tampa Bay’s first since the fourth inning — allowed the Rays to open a nine-game road trip with a win over the AL Central champions Guardians.
From now on, every game is important for Tampa Bay.
Javy Guerra (2-0) pitched an inning for the win, and Tampa Bay’s ninth pitcher Calvin Faucher worked the 11th for his first career save.
Jose Siri hit a two-run homer for Tampa Bay, which scored four times in the fourth against Guardians starter Shane Bieber.
Rays starter Corey Kluber lasted just four innings in his third career start against the Guardians, his team from 2011-2019. It was the right-hander’s first start as a visitor to Cleveland, where he won two Cy Youngs.
Guardians reliever Enyel De Los Santos pitched the clean fourth inning — nine pitches, three strikeouts — and 112th in major league history in the seventh. The right-hander joined Zach Plesac (2020), Carlos Carrasco (2018) and Justin Masterson (2014) in the team record books.
As they focus on one of the wildcard three-pointers, the Rays are also keeping tabs on Hurricane Ian as it batters Florida.
Before the opener, Tampa players and coaches were watching things at home.
“Watch the news, watch the computer,” said manager Kevin Cash.
The Guardians clinched their division title Sunday in Texas, but a threat of pregame rain forced the team to postpone a flag-raising ceremony to celebrate their unexpected title until Saturday.
That’s nothing new for the Guardians, who have been hosed 10 times at Progressive Field.
After a 23-minute rain delay in the second, José Ramírez put the Guardians in place in the third with a triple RBI. Cleveland has tripled in five straight games, the club’s longest streak since a game-five in 1968.
The teams could meet again in October, which would pit managers and good friends Cash and Terry Francona against each other.
Cash was Cleveland’s bullpen coach under Francona in 2013-14, and the two are close.
“He’s one of the most special people in my life, and either they’re going to be happy or we are,” Francona said maybe see the Rays again. “It’s hard when you care so much about people and fight to break their brains out.”
Rays: 3B Yandy Díaz (left shoulder) was eliminated as a pinch hitter in the 10th after being sidelined since Sept. 19. Cash hopes to get him into the starting lineup on Wednesday.
Keepers: Plesac (broken hand) kicked a bullpen and is set to make his first start since Aug. 27 on Friday. Plesac was injured hitting the ground in frustration after giving up a home run to Seattle.
Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay’s No. 1 starter, returns from Tommy John surgery to make his first start since June 14, 2021. Glasnow will rely on the field, but the Rays are hoping he can help them by playoffs.
Goaltenders: RHP Triston McKenzie (11-11, 3.04) is 4-0 in September with a 2.28 ERA in four starts. He struck out 31 in 27 2/3 innings and is coming off a 13-strikeout performance against the White Sox.