CLEVELAND — Steven Kwan drove in Bo Naylor following Tyler Freeman’s tying single with two outs in the eighth inning, rallying the Cleveland Guardians to a 2-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
The Rangers, who remain in the second AL wild-card position, dropped their second straight in the series. They stayed a half-game behind first-place Houston in the AL West when the Astros lost at lowly Kansas City.
“This is a tough one, no getting around it,” Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “It’s a shame. We just couldn’t get much going offensively. I wish I could explain it. If I could, I’d fix it.”
Ramón Laureano doubled and Naylor walked against Will Smith (2-6) with one out in the eighth, then came around on singles by Freeman and Kwan off José Leclerc. Cleveland had stranded 10 baserunners through the first seven innings, including seven in the first three against Dane Dunning.
Reynaldo López (3-7) pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for the Guardians, and Emmanuel Clase worked the ninth for his major league-best 41st save. Clase spent his rookie season with the Rangers before being traded to Cleveland in 2020.
“I get a little anxious every time I face them,” Clase said. “The real focus comes down to just pitching the same way when I come in all season. That’s what I tried to do.”
Texas took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Marcus Semien doubled home Evan Carter for his 89th RBI of the season. Carter was the only Rangers player to advance past second base.
Dunning threw five scoreless innings despite giving up six hits, three walks and a hit batter. The right-hander struck out five.
“I couldn’t get myself a clean inning. I guess I wanted to pitched with some traffic,” he joked. “My command was a little spotty, but I was able to work my way out of trouble.”
Guardians starter Tanner Bibee left in the sixth with right hip tightness, one inning after being struck on the right foot by a ball off the bat of Leody Taveras. The rookie right-hander went 5 1/3 innings, striking out four and allowing one run in lowering his ERA to 2.98.
“You’re in the middle of September and young kids can be on fumes, but he’s not,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “We’ll get Tanner looked at tomorrow and see how everything checks out.”
Rangers 3B Josh Jung (left thumb fracture) and OF Adolis García (right patellar tendon strain) are on track to be activated when the team returns home Monday for a three-game series against Boston.
Jung underwent surgery Aug. 9 after being struck by a line drive on his glove hand three days earlier against Miami. The AL Rookie of the Year contender is working out at Texas’ spring training facility in Surprise, Arizona.
García, selected to his second All-Star team this season, joined the Rangers at Progressive Field. He was injured in the outfield against Houston on Sept. 6.
Rangers: Taveras (left hand soreness) was in the lineup for the first time since Tuesday. Taveras has been available off the bench and pinch-hit Thursday in Toronto, but Bochy did not want him to play in the field until his hand felt better.
Guardians: RHP Shane Bieber (right elbow inflammation) is scheduled to throw 65 pitches Sunday in a rehab start for Triple-A Columbus. The 2020 AL Cy Young Award winner worked 3 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run for Double-A Akron on Tuesday.
Guardians RHP Gavin Williams (2-5, 3.43 ERA), a rookie who has won once in 11 starts since July 15, pitches the finale of three-game series. The Rangers had not announced a starter.