Rays vs Guardians – Game Recap – September 27, 2022
CLEVELAND — — With Hurricane Ian and the playoffs in mind, the Tampa Bay Rays began a season-ending journey with a decisive victory.
A joker spot is approaching.
Harold Ramírez’s two-run brace with two outs in the 11th inning pushed Tampa Bay past Cleveland 6-5 on Tuesday night, helping the Rays close the AL wildcard race and ending the seven-game streak consecutive victories of the Guardians.
The win came as the Rays kept tabs on the storm battering their home state.
“I’m sure it’s tough, a lot of people have their families there, their belongings and everything,” said Calvin Faucher, who worked the 11th for his first career stoppage. “We have televisions here so we can see the news at all times. We definitely stay up to date.
At 85-69, the Rays are second in wild card hunting, just 1 1/2 games behind Toronto (87-68), which lost to the Yankees. Tampa Bay holds the tiebreaker against the Blue Jays.
Tampa Bay blew a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning before scoring twice in the 11th.
“It could have been a very frustrating day, considering how early we played,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “I’m really happy the guys stayed positive and found a way to find some big hits.”
In the 11th, Wander Franco tied with two outs and Taylor Walls, the second runner to start the inning, took third on a wild pitch. Franco stole second and Ramirez, who played 99 games for Cleveland last season before being released, pulled out a 1-2 shot from Trevor Stephan (6-5) down the left field line to score the two runners.
The clutch hit — Tampa Bay’s first since the fourth inning — allowed the Rays to inflict the AL Central champions Guardians their fourth loss in 22 games.
Javy Guerra (2-0) pitched an inning for the win and Faucher, Tampa Bay’s ninth pitcher, finished.
After the game, Faucher was doused with beer and other cold drinks in the shower area as the Rays edged closer to a playoff spot. Their magic number on Baltimore to clinch a spot is three.
Jose Siri hit a two-run homer for Tampa Bay, which scored four times in the fourth against Guardians starter Shane Bieber, who may have been affected by a 23-minute rain delay in the third.
“I felt good about my delivery. I felt good coming out of weather lag and then somewhere in there there was a little lapse and gave up a few more hits and would have liked a few throws back, obviously. Bieber said. “That’s how it is. On to the next one.”
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.
“There are fewer clean innings than there are no-hitters,” Bieber said. “It’s more rare, technically. What an achievement. I hope one day I can get one. He and Plea (Plesac) did it and I saw them both. What a special thing.
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 of possibly seeing the Rays again. “It’s hard when you care so much about people and then you 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.