ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Five Tampa Bay pitchers combined for seven hitless innings, and the Rays beat the Indians 4-0 Wednesday for a doubleheader sweep.
Collin McHugh (two perfect innings), Josh Fleming (7-4 after allowing one walk in 2 2/3 innings), Diego Castillo (one out), Matt Wisler (one inning) and Pete Fairbanks (one inning) combined for the hitless performance in a game shortened to seven innings under pandemic rules.
The game will not go into the official list of no-hitters. MLB’s eight-man committee on statistical accuracy decided in 1991 that a no-hitter was a game of nine or more innings that ended with no hits.
Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner pitched a seven-inning no-hitter against Atlanta in the second game of a doubleheader on April 25, another that did not officially count.
“I don’t have a whole lot of opinions about it … I’ll probably leave that one to Bumgarner to talk about,” McHugh said. “We celebrated like it was. Really, that’s all that matters to us, is having a good time with it.”
There have been seven official no-hitters this season, one shy of the high set in 1884, the first year overhand pitching was allowed.
Cleveland had just three baserunners, including Oscar Mercado, who reached against Josh Fleming after third baseman Wander Franco and shortstop Taylor Walls collided on a routine grounder leading off in the third. Originally scored as an infield single, the call was changed one inning later to an error on Franco for running into Walls.
“I just assumed it was a hit,” said McHugh, who didn’t immediately realize after the final out that Tampa Bay had now allowed any hits. “So there was a little confusion on our part but we had a good time with it.”
In the fifth inning, Franco was credited with an infield single after third baseman Owen Miller made contact with shortstop Amed Rosario as he was fielding a grounder.
Major League Baseball could change decisions by official scorer Tim Clodjeaux.
“I mean, it’s kind of hard to understand how the one for them is a hit but ours is an error,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “I’m guessing that a couple days from now they’ll have to go back and un-celebrate that, They’ll probably change it, but that doesn’t change the fact, what the score was and what we did or didn’t do.”
Clodjeaux said after reviewing the play, without the contact Walls would have thrown Mercado out at first.
9.12 of the Official Baseball Rules states: “the official scorer shall charge an error to a fielder who causes another fielder to misplay a ball.”
Walls helped start a nifty double play to end the third when he slid to field Ernie Clement’s grounder. Franco also made a pair of nice defensive plays on fourth-inning grounders.
Walls put the Rays up 2-0 in Game 2 on two-out RBI singles off Sam Hentges (1-4) in the second and fourth. Yandy Díaz extended the advantage to 4-0 on a fifth-inning two-run single against Nick Sandlin.
Hentges gave up four runs and five hits over 4 1/3 innings.
Kevin Kiermaier homered and drove in a career-high five runs, Vidal Bruján had an RBI single in his major league debut, and the Rays win the opener 8-1.
Franmil Reyes homered for the Indians, who have lost nine in a row. He homered and tied a career-high with five RBIs in Monday night’s 9-8 loss to the Rays.
It is the the longest losing streak during Terry Francona’s managerial time with Cleveland. The Indians dropped eight straight from Sept. 8-16, 2020, and from June 2-10, 2013.
“We’re not, obviously, firing on all cylinders.” Francona said. “I think that’s an understatement.”
In the opener, Kiermaier had a two-run double in the first and connected on a three-run shot off J.C. Mejia (1-4) during the third.
“I’m starting to feel a lot more locked in and, hopefully, I can just find that consistency along the way,” said Kiermaier, who went 2 for 3 to raise his average to .239. “Just anything you can do to help the team win and create momentum for you and the boys out there, that’s what it is all about.”
Kiermaier’s second homer of the season gave Tampa Bay a 6-1 lead in the third and ended Mejia’s day. Brandon Lowe and Brett Phillips added solo drives for the Rays.
Michael Wacha (2-2) allowed one run, four hits and struck out six in six innings. Ryan Sherriff worked the seventh to complete a four-hitter.
Mejia gave up six runs, four hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings.
Bruján had a remarkable first inning in Game 1, which saw the 23-year-old take away a hit from Amed Rosario in the top half by diving to his left on a hard-hit grounder. Bruján followed that up later in the inning with an RBI single, then stole second and scored on Kiermaier’s double for a 3-0 lead.
The doubleheader included a makeup of a game postponed Tuesday night due to Hurricane Elsa.
Tigers 4, Rangers 3
ARLINGTON, Texas — When Miguel Cabrera came on as a pinch-hitter for the Detroit Tigers with the bases loaded and one out in a tie game, he did exactly what the Texas Rangers hoped he would by hitting the ball on the ground.
Things didn’t go as expected after that.
Instead of an inning-ending double play, Cabrera wound up with a go-ahead RBI infield single when the ball deflected off the glove of just-in reliever Joely Rodriguez.
The Tigers went on to a 5-3 victory Wednesday over the Rangers and previously unbeaten All-Star pitcher Kyle Gibson while also overcoming two more homers by slugger Joey Gallo.
“I’ve never seen Miggie run that fast. … That kind of ignited things,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said.
“It’s frustrating because it’s a double play if anybody catches the ball,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said.
With the game tied 2-2 in the seventh, Gibson walked No. 9 batter Jake Rogers to load the bases after Harold Castro had flared a hit to short left-center. Cabrera then got career hit No. 2,924 before Jonathan Schoop blooped a single over first base that dropped just fair for another run before Robbie Grossman, who had an RBI single in the first, walked with the bases still loaded.
“Crazy seventh inning,” Gibson said. “Just kind of felt like whenever they threatened, they did so by finding a hole here, blooping the ball in there.”
Gallo became the first Rangers player ever with 10 homers in a 10-game stretch, and his two solo shots combined went more than 900 feet on the same day that it was announced he would participate in next week’s Home Run Derby.
The All-Star right fielder, with 23 homers overall, also had his fourth outfield assist and drove in the other Texas run when he drew his AL-best 67th walk with the bases loaded in the eighth.
Kyle Funkhouser (3-0) worked two scoreless innings after starter Casey Mize, the former No. 1 overall pick being limited by the Tigers, allowed the Gallo homers in his four innings.
Gregory Soto, Detroit’s only All-Star pick, got the last six outs for his seventh save in as many chances, including consecutive strikeouts after the four-pitch walk to Gallo.
Jeimer Candelario hit a solo homer for the Tigers, who took two of three games to improve to 4-0-1 in their past five series.
Three days after getting selected to his first All-Star team, Gibson (6-1) struck out seven but allowed eight hits and five runs over 6 1/3 innings. His ERA jumped from an AL-best 1.98 to 2.29.
Former Rangers teammate Lance Lynn, also an All-Star, took over as the league’s ERA leader at 1.99 after six innings for the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday in a win at Minnesota.
Gallo pulled a 440-foot homer into the seats in right-center field in the second. He went even deeper two innings later, with a 462-foot shot that is the longest hit by a Rangers player in the stadium they moved into last season.
“Anytime we could clear the Gallo at-bat without the ball leaving the yard today seemed like a success for us,” Hinch said. “He’s such a dangerous hitter and certainly is locked in for the last couple of weeks being one of the most dangerous hitters in the league.”