Rays’ big 9th inning dooms Tribe

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Tampa Bay’s Ji-Man Choi and Indians catcher Austin Hedges watch Choi’s three-run home run in the ninth inning of Friday night’s game in Cleveland.

Tampa Bay’s Ji-Man Choi and Indians catcher Austin Hedges watch Choi’s three-run home run in the ninth inning of Friday night’s game in Cleveland.

AP photo

CLEVELAND — The Rays were off to a good start Friday night. A two-error play by Cleveland led to three runs in the second inning, and a home run by new addition Nelson Cruz in his second at-bat gave them an early four-run lead.

They eventually let that get away, but they ended the night happy anyway, rallying in the ninth for six runs and a 10-5 win.

PInch-hitter Joey Wendle singled in the go-ahead run after Randy Arozarena opened the ninth off Nick Wittgren with a single and Kevin Kiermaier was hit by a pitch.

After Brandon Lowe lined out, Ji-Man Choi lofted a three-run homer to right, and the Rays added two more runs

The win improved the Rays 59-39 and, at the very least, kept them within one game of the American League East-leading Red Sox, who were playing the Yankees.

The Rays have won the first five games this season, and 10 straight overall, against Cleveland, which on Friday announced plans to change its name to the Guardians after this season.

Tampa Bay got three runs on one messy play in the second in which Cleveland All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez made two errors.

The rally started innocently, with Yandy Diaz drawing a one-out walk off starer Zach Plesac and Wander Franco following with a single to center.

Arozarena followed with a ground-ball single to center, and that’s when all the fun began.

Diaz was set to score, so Cleveland center fielder Oscar Mercado threw to third. Ramirez mishandled the throw, which was his first mistake, allowing Franco to get up and score as the ball bounced away.

Then Ramirez retrieved the ball and bounced his throw home, allowing Arozarena to make the turn at third and race home, sliding in ahead of Plesac’s throw back to the plate.

The Rays extended the lead to 4-0 in the third when Cruz made a grand debut following his Thursday acquisition from the Twins, homering to right. It was his 20th homer of the season and the 437th of his career, one behind Andre Dawson for 45th place all-time.

Ramirez made some amends in the third inning, when he launched a 409-foot, 106.7-mph three-run homer off Rays starter Josh Fleming. A one-out walk to Cesar Hernandez and a single by Amed Rosario set Ramirez up.

Having traded Rich Hill to the Mets on Friday, the Rays are planning a bullpen day to cover his scheduled Saturday start. And a long outing from Fleming on Friday would have helped, but he lasted only four innings, allowing three runs, on the Ramirez homer, with six hits, two walks and one strikeout, throwing 72 pitches (41 strikes). Andrew Kitttedge and Matt Wisler each worked two innings, then Pete Fairbanks finished after allowing a leadoff homer in the ninth.

Ramirez delivered again in the seventh to pull Cleveland even. Hernandez greeted Wisler with a ground ball that appeared to carom off his glove for an infield single. With one out, Ramirez laced a ball into the right-field corner, and raced his way to third.

Castellanos on IL

CINCINNATI — Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos has been put on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to July 20 with a microfracture in his right wrist. Friday night’s game against St. Louis ended after deadline.

Cubs 8, Diamondbacks 3

CHICAGO — Javier Báez homered, Robinson Chirinos went deep twice, Zach Davies earned his first win since a combined no-hitter last month and the Chicago Cubs beat the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Big changes could be in store for the Cubs with the trade deadline a week away. If this is their final homestand together, it’s off to quite a start.

“I think this is a professional team,” Davies said. “Everybody’s gonna go out there and try and win, regardless of what’s going on with the team. Enjoying winning baseball, enjoying successful baseball and playing well, that’s where everybody’s mind’s at.”

Báez gave the Cubs a 3-0 lead in the first inning with his long three-run homer to left. The Cubs added three more in the third, capped by Nico Hoerner’s two-run single.

Chirinos made it 7-0 leading off the fourth against Zac Gallen (1-5). He also homered to start the sixth against Matt Peacock after Arizona scored two in the top half, helping Chicago win for just the sixth time in 23 games since Davies and three relievers no-hit the Dodgers in Los Angeles on June 24.

In between, the Cubs fell from a first-place tie with Milwaukee in the NL Central to nine games back of the Brewers at 47-50 entering this one. Davies (6-6) threw 107 pitches in 5 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and seven hits. The 28-year-old right-hander struck out a season-high eight while walking two, and came away with the win after going 0-2 in his previous four starts.

Davies exited leading 7-0 with runners on second and third before Daulton Varsho greeted Adam Morgan with a two-run double.

Rookie Keegan Thompson worked the final three innings for his first career save.

“The homer by Javy is big, three runs early on, getting back home, get the crowd into it” manager David Ross said. “It’s nice to be back home. Zach settled in there as the game went on, nice job there. … A lot of guys had some really nice days.”

Varsho homered in the ninth. But the Diamondbacks, owners of baseball’s worst record, came up short after matching a season high with four straight wins.

Gallen tied a career high by allowing seven runs and matched a season worst with six hits in four innings. The 25-year-old right-hander is 0-5 in eight starts since beating Atlanta on April 25.

“Not good,” he said. “Didn’t have good stuff. Didn’t make pitches when I needed to. Didn’t keep us in the game and had to go to the bullpen too early. All around, negative.”

Trainer’s room

Diamondbacks: Were trying to determine the severity of INF/OF Josh Rojas’ dislocated left pinkie, though manager Torey Lovullo does not think surgery will be necessary. Rojas was hurt on a failed steal attempt in Wednesday’s win over Pittsburgh at home and was not in Chicago. He had not been placed on the injured list. Lovullo said the Diamondbacks were still “gathering information” and expected to have an answer “in the next 12 hours.”

Cubs: LF Kris Bryant (right hamstring fatigue) was back in the lineup after being held out the previous two games. … The Cubs placed LHP Brad Wieck on the 60-day injured list because of an irregular heartbeat. They also claimed OF Johneshwy Fargas off waivers from the New York Mets and optioned him to Triple-A Iowa. INF Eric Sogard was designated for assignment. Wieck will undergo his second cardiac ablation in as many years to fix an irregular heartbeat. The date for the procedure was not set. He had a similar operation in February 2020. … The Cubs activated 3B Matt Duffy (low back strain) from the 60-day injured list.

Up next

RHP Merrill Kelly (6-7, 4.46 ERA) looks to stay on a roll for the Diamondbacks, while RHP Alec Mills pitches for the Cubs. Kelly is 4-0 in his past six starts, including a win over the Cubs last week.

Tampa Bay’s Ji-Man Choi and Indians catcher Austin Hedges watch Choi’s three-run home run in the ninth inning of Friday night’s game in Cleveland.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/07/web1_onlinerays.jpgTampa Bay’s Ji-Man Choi and Indians catcher Austin Hedges watch Choi’s three-run home run in the ninth inning of Friday night’s game in Cleveland. AP photo

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