The Tampa Bay Rays (72-63) bounced back to a 5-3 win over the Cleveland Indians (77-58) Saturday night to even the series 1-1 in Cleveland.
The Indians struck first in this one, as Blake Snell was not as sharp as usual. In the second inning doubles from Melky Cabrera and Yan Gomes gave Cleveland a 2-0 advantage. The inning ended when Gomes was thrown out trying to score from second on a Michael Bradley single that gave the Rays the feeling they were not out of it.
Indeed, the Rays answered with a strong showing in the sixth inning. After Brandon Lowe singled to lead off the frame, Joey Wendle and Matt Duffy hit back-to-back doubles to tie the game 2-2. After Ji-Man Choi grounded out, Tommy Pham came through with a two run double in his own right to give the Rays a 4-2 lead and all the offense they would need. Brandon Lowe hit his second homer of the season in the top of the ninth which would add insurance that would prove useful when Jason Kipnis hit a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to make it 5-3. However, that would be as close as the Indians would get and the Rays would hang on to improve to nine game over .500.
Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier departed from this game after six innings with back spasms, and said after the game he had been dealing with them for about a week. Though he felt he was at a breaking point Saturday night, he said he expects to play Sunday - the Rays have listed him as day-to-day.
Blake Snell (17-5, 2.02) got the win in spite of struggling early. Even though he didn't seem to have his best stuff he allowed only two runs (one earned run) on eight hits in six and two thirds innings of work while striking out nine and walking one. A bullpen combination of Jose Alvarado, Chaz Roe and Adam Kolarek closed it out - Kolarek needed just one pitch in the ninth to get his second save of the season. Shane Bieber (8-3, 4.66) pitched five and a third innings allowing four runs (all earned) on nine hits while striking out four and walking none for the Indians.
The Rays and Indians meet in the rubber game of the three game series on Sunday afternoon at Progressive Field. First pitch is set for 4:10 on Sunday afternoon and you can hear it all beginning with Steve Carney and the Inside Pitch at 2:00 on 620 WDAE & 95.3 FM.