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.