Tagged in: rookies

Cleveland Guardians stop Tampa Bay Rays from clinching AL wild-card spot, rally to win 2-1

Small plastic strips dangled from the ceiling in Tampa Bay’s clubhouse, which had been cleared of furniture and prepped over the final innings for what was supposed to be wild, wet celebration.

The Guardians had other plans.

“We don’t want people celebrating in our house, right?” Cleveland starter Cal Quantrill said.

Rookies Oscar Gonzalez and Steven Kwan drove in runs in the eighth inning as the Guardians denied the Rays from clinching one of the AL’s three wild-card spots, rallying for a 2-1 victory on Thursday night.

The Central champion Guardians took two of three game in a tight series — and potentially a playoff preview. Two games went to extra innings and all three were decided by one run.

After Baltimore lost in Boston earlier, the Rays took the field needing a win to make the postseason for the fourth year in a row. But they couldn’t hold off a Cleveland team that has fought back all season.

“Kind of been our [modus operandi] all year long,” Quantrill said. “You can’t put us away. I don’t think we’re a very fun team to face.” Coolers filled with beer and champagne were wheeled in and out of Tampa’s clubhouse as the Rays packed their gear and left for Houston still a win away from making the postseason field.

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“There’s disappointment any time we lose,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash, not wanting to put any extra emphasis on one game that slipped away late. “The disappointment is we were up in the eighth inning and we lost.”

Tampa Bay had an opportunity in the ninth inning, loading the bases on three walks by reliever Trevor Stephan. But he struck out Ji-Man Choi and then got Isaac Paredes to fly to short right to earn his third save.

“That’s a really good team,” said Quantrill, who remained unbeaten at Progressive Field in 33 starts. “I know a couple of guys on that team. I like that team. But we don’t want them to celebrate here.

“They can go celebrate wherever they’re heading next. It’s not about proving we can beat them. It comes back to proving that we can continue to play the game the way we want to play it.”

The Guardians have 37 come-from-behind victories and they extended their team record to 29 victories in their final at-bat. 

Enyel De Los Santos (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth as Cleveland improved to 20-4 since Sept. 4.

Shut out for seven innings, the Guardians got a pinch-hit single off Shawn Armstrong (2-3) from rookie Will Brennan to start the eighth. Myles Straw then sacrificed and Kwan doubled to tie it 1-all.

The Rays walked the dangerous Jose Ramirez with two outs to face Gonzalez, who hit a slow roller to the right side just out of Choi’s reach at first as Brennan scored.

“I felt bad for Army,” Cash said. “He threw the ball so well and Gonzalez swings at a pitch that almost hit him and just found that perfect spot.” Cleveland’s comeback kept Quantrill’s perfect mark at home intact. The right-hander allowed just one run and three hits in six innings but appeared to be on his way to a tough loss before his teammates rallied.

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Guardians score 6 runs in 8th, rally past Tigers 8-4

All-Star José Ramírez blooped a go-ahead, two-run double as the Cleveland Guardians scored six runs with two outs in the eighth inning, rallying for a 8-4 triumph over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night.

Rookies Steven Kwan and Oscar Gonzalez had RBI doubles, and Amed Rosario and Owen Miller added run-scoring singles in the eighth for the AL Central-leading Guardians. Cleveland trailed 4-1 in the sixth and 4-2 entering the eighth.

“It’s the belief we have in each other,” Kwan said. “Guys were just grinding at-bats out, and it’s the luck of baseball, as well.”

Andrew Chafin (0-3) struck out the first three batters in the inning, but tossed a wild pitch that permitted Luke Maile to reach and extend the frame. Cleveland then rattled off five straight hits and had seven consecutive men reach base.

“I went from, ‘Yeah, all right,’ to ‘Well, crap,’ pretty quickly,” Chafin said. “It’s not a nice game and it’s going to get you like that sometimes. That’s baseball for you.” Rosario greeted Alex Lange with a game-tying infield single that scored Myles Straw, and Ramírez followed with a soft fly that landed in front of left fielder Akil Baddoo. Kwan and Rosario scored to put the Guardians up 6-4.

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Cleveland remained one game ahead of Minnesota in the division. Bryan Shaw (6-2) retired one batter for the win.

The Guardians became the first major league team to strikeout three times before scoring six runs in any inning since at least 1961, according to Elias.

“How many times do you hear me say, ‘Keep playing, keep playing,’” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “That was kind of the ultimate example. Sometimes, it’s hard for us to win, but it’s always better than losing.”

Willi Castro hit a solo homer and Victor Reyes and Eric Haase had RBI singles for Detroit, which has lost nine of its last 11 matches and fired general manager Al Avila last week. Rookie Kerry Carpenter had a sacrifice fly for his fourth RBI in the four-game series.

“It happened fast against a contact team, but obviously we should have been out of that inning,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said.

Castro’s homer in the sixth extended Detroit’s lead to 4-1. All-Star Andrés Giménez scored on a passed ball in the bottom half to pull Cleveland within two.

Gonzalez had two hits and two RBI, and Kwan and Andrés Giménez had two hits apiece.

Left-hander Daniel Norris, who was released by the Cubs on July 22, gave up four hits, walked two, hit three batters and struck out five in his second outing since rejoining the Tigers.

Detroit went in front 2-1 in the fourth, plating two runs to end Cal Quantrill’s 18-inning scoreless streak. Carpenter drove in the first for his fourth RBI in the four-game series and Haase singled home Javier Báez.

Quantrill permitted four runs in six innings, but remained 11-0 in 28 career games in the ballpark.

The Guardians won 10 of 19 games versus Detroit this season, evening their all-time series at 1,144-1,144.

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